July 6, 2021

Back to School Budget Calculator

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Getting ready for the start of the school year? Use this calculator to prepare your back-to-school budget.

Soccer cleats. Calculators. New backpacks - the list goes on and on.

Every year, the back-to-school shopping list gets longer. But who doesn't want their kid to have everything they need to do their best?

With this back-to-school budget calculator, you'll get a categorized budget tailored just for you. Here's how to set your child up for success.

How to use the back to school calculator

The number of kids you have and their grade level will have the biggest influence on how much your budget should be.

What items do your kids need for school and extracurricular activities? Are they into sports or dance? Do they go to after school tutoring? Here's what you'll need to figure out:

  • Number of children
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Sporting or hobby gear
  • Sporting or hobby lessons/training
  • Books
  • Writing utensils (e.g.: pencils, pens, markers)
  • Other utensils (e.g.: rulers, scissors, glue)
  • Technology (e.g.: laptops, calculators)

If you're not sure how much an item costs, no worries. Our calculator has default average prices inputted.

Once you figure how much you'll need to spend on school supplies, it's time to go shopping. But first, find out how to save big on your checklist.

Want to budget more than just your back-to-school shopping list? These online budgeting tools can whip your finances into shape.

6 money saving tips for back to school

There's no time to linger in a crowded Target with a mad rush of families. Just get in and get out. Here's how to successfully plan your back-to-school shopping efficiently.

  1. Make a list - You can go on your child's school website or look up example school supply lists online. Sometimes teachers will provide printed lists to students. Then divide the items you need into categories. That way, you can segment and order the stores you need to hit.

  2. Compare prices before heading into the store - With quick, easy and often free shipping, you might be better off buying off the web. Just be sure to double-check shipping fees and shipping time.

    To get even more bang for your buck, utilize cash back apps when shopping for school supplies, groceries, and back-to-school clothes.

  3. Take stock of what you already have - If you already have a few notebooks from the previous year, there's no need to buy a bunch of new ones. Check around the house for any unused items.

  4. Donate to your school (you might get a tax deduction) - As our children move from grade to grade, their needs might be different. If your kid is moving up from grade school to middle school, consider giving away any unneeded and unused school supplies. Non-profit schools are considered charitable organizations so the IRS lets you make tax deductions for donations.

  5. Get coupons from newsletters - Yes, getting a ton of emails can be annoying. But bearing through it can get you access to tons of discounts on school supplies. Just subscribe when you're done shopping.

  6. Buy early or late - Stores may raise their prices during back-to-school season. Try to do your school supplies shopping as early as June. On the other hand, you can postpone your shopping until October. That strategy works if you have leftover basics from the previous school year.

Setting your kid for school success

Kids these days have a lot on their plates. There's pressure from schoolwork, fitting in with peers, avoiding bullies, and more. Plus, their minds and bodies are still developing.

That said, academic success starts at home. And there are a few factors that are linked to higher test scores.

Follow these tips to help your child thrive in school.

  • Give them plenty of time to sleep (9-12 hours for kids over 5)
  • Provide a healthy breakfast each morning
  • Encourage regular exercise
  • Limit the amount of time spent watching TV, playing video games, or using the computer
  • Stick to a routine so your kid knows what to expect
  • Create a designated area for school stuff (backpacks, jackets, shoes, lunch, school projects, etc.)
  • Read to your child
  • Talk often and lead healthy communication
  • Meet with teachers and show interest in your kid's school activities

Want to help your child develop good money habits? Consider opening one of these kid-friendly checking accounts for them to learn the ropes.

Bottom line

The start of a school year is a busy time for all. Equipping your child with tools and healthy habits can help them succeed.

Be proud of what your child can accomplish and show interest and support in their activities. This will give your kid the confidence and foundation to be the best student they can be.

Amber Kong is a content and creative at CreditDonkey, a personal finance comparison and reviews website. Write to Amber Kong at amber.kong@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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