Ready for Back-to-School Expenses?

Posted by Kathy Knoebel on Aug 18, 2016 05:00:00 AM

Topic: ALL

School supplies, spread out

Backpacks will be loaded, the bells will ring and homework will be coming home soon. This busy and exciting milestone marks one of those times each year when families can expect increased expenses.  According to the National Retail Federation’s 2016 survey of back-to-school costs, families with children in grades K-12 will spend on average about $673 this fall getting ready for school. And, families with children in college will spend about $200 more according to the survey. With a little planning and saving now, you can be ready for both expected and unexpected back-to-school costs.

Back to school expenses K - 12

“The excitement of the back-to-school season is contagious for just about everyone,” said Eleanor Henderson, Bank Office Manager in Brown Deer, WI. “Whether you’re in second grade, high school or college, there’s something on the list that needs to be purchased and the costs can add up quickly.”

college back to school costs

A few tips can help this milestone make the grade for you and your family:

  • Keeping an eye on ads and promotions before the rush will help keep expenses down.

  • Online deals and free shipping are gaining popularity with back-to-school and back-to-college shoppers using their credit cards. Discount retailers and department stores are also offering sale prices to encourage early shopping. But interest on credit card purchases can add up quickly. Over time, interest rates can outpace the savings benefit of a good sale. Promptly paying for back-to-school credit card purchases with funds from a personal savings account minimizes accumulated credit card interest that can pile up so quickly.

  • If you already have a personal savings account, adding $35 each paycheck will make covering these upcoming back-to-school expenses easier when the monthly credit card statements roll in. If you haven’t set up a personal savings account yet, fall is a great time to get started. Many people find setting up an automatic withdrawal of a percent from each paycheck, and having it deposited directly into a savings account is easy and effortless.

  • Back-to-school is also a great time to think ahead for future school expenses like private school and college tuition. Special tax-favored saving accounts are available for these kinds of expenses and have additional benefits over personal savings accounts.

Once your back-to-school spending is covered, keep on saving. You’ll be in good shape for covering holiday shopping or that new snow blower – more milestones that are just around the corner.

True or False? I’ve got back-to-school covered!

We’d love to hear about how this annual milestone is going. Tweet or tag us on Instagram using #back2schoolmilestone.