We’ll miss the Cape Cod Baseball League games, ice cream and fudge whenever we want, and so much more that comes with summer on the Cape. Now, it’s time for back-to-school shopping! It’s the perfect opportunity to sit down with your children to have the money talk. You can let them take ownership of their budget for school supplies by teaching them about sticking to a plan. Here’s a few tips to get you started:
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Check the classroom list with your school.
- Take inventory of what school supplies you already have at home and their condition.
- Discuss the difference between “wants” and “needs.” A new backpack would be cool, but would the one from last year still work?
- Create a shopping list.
- Develop a budget and discuss the maximum you will spend on new school supplies. Put your budgeted amount in cash in an envelope for your child to use to shop.
BE A SAVVY SHOPPER
- Remember to take your supply list and budget. And stick to it!
- Compare prices. Help your child understand that often the “name brand” costs more than generic. A pencil box is a pencil box, but is it worth it to pay to have your favorite character on it? Guide your child through the process as they decide what to buy.
- Help your child keep track of your spending as you shop by using good old paper and pencil or make a note on your smartphone.
- Are any coupons or other discounts available?
- Let your child do the checking out at the end.
- Discuss how the shopping trip went. Did you get everything? What tough choices did your child need to make?
- What did your child learn?
- How would your child handle it differently next time?
While back-to-school time can be hectic, making the time to talk to your child about finances is worth it. Knowledge is power, and the more your child knows about money the more prepared they’ll be for the “real world.” For more information on budgeting, saving, and best practices, visit any of The Coop’s convenient Cape Cod branch locations.