Home > Financial Fitness > News & Announcements > 2011 Archive > Budgeting for Back-to-School Shopping: Virginia CPAs Offer Tips
Children across the Commonwealth will head back to class in just a few weeks, and that means it is time to plan your back-to-school shopping budget. From the latest athletic shoes, clothing and supplies, the price tags can really add up. The Virginia Society of Certified Public Accountants (VSCPA) recommends five ways to prepare for and save money on back-to-school expenses.
1. Take advantage of Virginia’s tax-free weekend.
2. Do a closet inventory.
3. Set a spending plan.
Before you head to the nearest mall, make sure you have your shopping list in hand. Without a pre-determined list of needed items, you could be asking for trouble. Items to possibly include on your list, in addition to clothing and shoes, are sporting or hobby equipment like cleats or ballet slippers, class supplies like notebooks, binders and crayons, and electronic devices or computer equipment.
As part of your spending plan, figure out how many pairs of pants, shirts and socks your child needs. Remember, buying mix-and-match clothing may be less expensive in the long run than buying pants that can only be worn with certain tops, and vice versa. Also, consult the school’s dress policy first to make sure your child can actually wear what you buy.
4. Involve your children.
Back-to-school shopping provides an excellent opportunity to teach your children money management skills. Concepts like comparison shopping, distinguishing needs from wants and sticking to a budget can all be taught during back-to-school shopping.
5. Look for deals year-round.
Nothing says your children must start the first day of school with a closet full of new outfits. Buy the necessities prior to the first day of class and then keep an eye on sales and other bargains throughout the year to finish out the rest. Plus, if your child experiences a huge growth spurt, you will not have wasted your entire year’s clothing budget at the beginning of the school year.
There are many simple ways to make good money management part of your daily life. Your CPA will work with you to ensure you take the right steps to secure your family’s financial future. Visit the VSCPA’s consumer website, www.FinancialFitness.org, for more money management tips and free resources.
LAST UPDATED 8/1/2011