Back-to-School Shopping -- 5 Financial Lessons for Your Kids

It’s that time again – the first day of school is right around the corner!  You likely received your supply lists weeks ago and stores have been advertising back-to-school items since the Fourth of July.  If you’re like me, you’re dreading the last-minute crowds…and the bill at check-out.

I have read several articles recently telling parents that the easiest way to save money on school supplies is to leave your children at home.  As tempting as this may be, I urge you to take your children on this shopping trip.  Back-to-school shopping can be a great opportunity for financial education. 


Here are 5 financial lessons you can teach your children:


1.  Take inventory of what you have.  Before you leave the house, make sure you know what you have and what you need to avoid purchasing duplicate items.

2.  Comparison shop.  Search printed newspaper ads or shop the internet to find sales and compare prices on the items you need.  Coupons are also a great savings tool!

3.  Set a budget.  Set the maximum dollar amount you can afford to spend, and stick to it.  This is a basic cash flow planning principle we should all stick to!

4.  Stick to a list.  Make a list of the items you need, and don't deviate.  Just like a trip to the grocery store, straying from your list can be detrimental to your wallet.

5.  Make smart choices.  Within your budget, there may be items you choose to spend more on.  Consider buying store brands for basic items, and spending a little extra for others (backpacks, clothes, etc.) to enhance quality or style.

Prepare a plan and stick to it for the start to a successful school year!