Back to School Financial Frenzy

The dog days of summer slowly yield to the most wonderful time of year for parents: back-to-school time. That’s right, we’re standing on the threshold of the 2009 – 2010 academic year. Certainly your kids are eager to jump back into the learning world; field trips, science fairs, and late nights of algebra homework are just around the corner!
Are you ready to jump into the back-to-school shopping frenzy? Sure, part of the frenzy is dealing with back-to-school sales and the droves of parents and their children racing through aisles, cutting in check-out lines, and clogging parking lots. The other part is the frenzy of funding this annual adventure.
How do you typically pay for back-to-school shopping? According to the National Retail Federation, the average family with students in grades Kindergarten through 12 is expected to spend $548.72 this year. That’s a pretty big outlay each year for new clothes and school supplies. If we put these purchases on credit cards, we’ll likely still be paying on them when the last report card comes home next spring!
The best way to plan for back-to-school shopping is using a non-monthly expense account. Take what you intend to spend each year and divide it by 12. If you plan to spend $600 on your children, that’s $50 each month you can set aside in a savings account. When back-to-school season kicks into high gear, you can simply pull those savings out in cash (yes, the green stuff) and never worry about breaking the budget or making monthly payments until your kids are in college!
Try using this concept for all sorts of other non-monthly expenses: vacations, insurance premiums, birthdays, property taxes, and Christmas. This is a surefire way to avoid the budget busting blues all year long.

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