Back to school shopping is daunting. But what about other unexpected expenses that arise during the school year? Have you considered the cost of packing lunches every day? Or the price of textbooks? Here we outline the most unexpected expenses that might hit you during the school year and how to save as much as you can.
Every year, as August comes around, the back to school commercials start, informing parents of the best deals on the coolest supplies and clothes. Back to school is an expensive time of the year that can put a large dent in any budget, but it is an expense that is expected. Back to school shopping is a tradition that parents can mentally prepare for each year. But what about school expenses that are not planned for? Read on to learn about these unexpected school expenses, and what you can do to save as much as possible.
Each year, the price of textbooks seems to increase exponentially. Textbooks and workbooks are unavoidable expenses that can pop up out of the blue, just when you think you are in the clear. But don’t worry too much. Shop used book sales – never buy brand new books. Resell your children’s books at the end of each year, and you will be able to manage the cost of textbooks this school year.
Field trips are something to look forward to. They are fun and exciting, and incredibly important for your child’s intellectual development. But these can come at a cost. Instead of pocketing the cost of a field trip, suggest a bake sale or fundraising methods that the students can get involved in. Volunteer to chaperone the trip and bring your own lunch for you and your child rather than purchasing a lunch. Simple changes like these can lead to a large amount of savings during the school year.
Supplies for Projects
Most parents know, and dread, the science fair. Science fair projects usually require plenty of supplies and materials, all that come at a significant cost. You want the best for your child, but you might not be able to swing the fancy borders for the poster board. Check out your local dollar store for great supplies at an even better cost. Always check online for coupons no matter where you shop. You never know until you look!
Parents of students, regardless of age, should expect to spend anywhere from $100-250 per year on technology and electronics alone. This includes purchasing online programs, supplying network service, and the cost to charge these devices at home. A smart way to save money on charging costs is to encourage your children to charge their devices at school rather than at home. Consider used electronics, such as calculators. And as always, check online for the best possible deal.
Packing lunches is not just time consuming, it can be expensive too. The food bill can quickly add up during the school year, in addition to the cost of products like ziploc bags and tin foil. Make sure to pack lunches with reusable tupperware, rather than ziploc bags. Invest in an insulated lunch box rather than brown paper bags. Always check your local grocery store for deals on snacks, and if possible, buy in bulk at stores like Costco.
Athletics and sports are an important part of your child’s development, but this too can come at a cost. From equipment to uniforms to transportation, school athletics can be costly. The average middle school fee is $150, while the average high school fee can reach $375. When it comes to away games, always carpool with other members of the team and parents. Shop around for used equipment, or ask around if anyone has some spare equipment laying around the house collecting dust.
Last but not least, holiday and birthday parties during the school year can be an unexpected expense. It is important to celebrate holidays and fun events, but this too can be costly. When it comes to party supplies, always look at the dollar store for the best deals. Instead of purchasing gifts and presents, consider making a homemade gift that your child can contribute to. Parties do not have to be a burden on your budget!
There is no doubt that school is expensive, and there are plenty of unexpected expenses that may arise during the year. But have no fear, now that you know what to expect, you can prepare yourself and find the best way to save!