For more information:
Andrew K. Johnson
Communications Manager/GreenPath Financial Wellness
Back-to-School Savings Don't have to End the First Day of School
GreenPath Financial Wellness shares nine money-saving shopping tips after the bell rings
(FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – September 4, 2012) By now, the kids are all back in class, but, many times, they are still back-to-school shopping with parents or friends.
According to the National Retail Federation, a family with children in grades K-12 will spend $689 this year on their children for back to school needs. This is up significantly from $604 an average family spent last year.
September can be an expensive month when it comes to school supplies and clothes, but a little pre-planning might help avoid a drain on your pocketbook.
Here are some suggestions from GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nationwide, non-profit credit counseling agency, with more than 60 branch offices in 12 states:
• Shop the sales smartly. Many stores sell items like crayons or spiral notebooks at very low cost into September, in order to get you in the door for bigger items. Stock up on those inexpensive notebooks and keep your kids in paper all year!
• Sales extend into September. Based on the initial rush of back-to-school shopping in late August (or lack thereof), great savings opportunities can extend into September. Also, outlets sometimes offer deep discounts to make room for winter and holiday clothing.
• Before you leave the house, conduct an inventory of what is in your kid’s closet now, including last year’s supplies and accessories (backpacks, etc.) Make a list of what they need and remove what they have outgrown. Consider filling a bag with the extra clothes to donate to charity or hand them
down to younger siblings.
• Consider letting your kids purchase one new outfit for the first day of school and put off the rest of the clothing shopping until the sales begin after the season is winding down in late September.
• Thrift stores are a great way to spend some time shopping for clothing. Nearly new looking items can almost always be found at low prices.
• Allow teens to start managing some of their own financial choices. Back-to-school shopping is a great way to start to hand over some decision making powers and give them a chance to learn basic money management skills. Depending on your teen’s maturity level, consider giving them a lump sum as their back-to-school money to spend. GreenPath has set up a teen budget sheet at www.greenpath.org/university/welcome.htm to help them build a budget and track weekly spending.
• If you need to replace the family computer, the best time to purchase a computer could be closer to the holidays so you might delay this purchase if you can. If you do decide to purchase now, shop around and find the best deal.
• Comparison shop. Shop on-line or use a smart phone app to compare prices. On-line shopping also lets you compare the prices of standard items like jeans or a particular brand of shoe. Another benefit to on-line shopping may be that there are fewer temptations to buy more than you intended.
• Have a plan for how you will pay for the purchases and don’t use a credit card without a plan to pay the bill when it comes. You don’t want to be paying for this year’s back-to-school purchases a year from now.
GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial organization that assists consumers with credit card debt, housing debt and bankruptcy concerns. Their customized services and attainable solutions have been helping people achieve their financial goals since 1961. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates more than 55 branch offices in Michigan, New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Vermont, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona and Wyoming. GreenPath also delivers licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). For more information, visit www.greenpath.org.