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5 Easy Ways To Avoid Back To School Debt

No more pencils, no more books — until summer is over and it’s back to school. As many parents can attest, those pencils and books (and all the other miscellaneous back-to-school items) can sure add up! In fact, many parents admit that the costs associated with heading back to class put quite a big financial strain on the family finances and can even lead to an increase in consumer debt.

There are simple but effective strategies that parents can use to deal with these costs and steer clear of back-to-school debt. Our Licensed Insolvency Trustees (LITs) expand on some of the best ones in our recent podcast episode (just click on the link below to listen).

Here’s a sneak peek of what our LITs discuss:

  1. Add back-to-school expenses to your family budget We know it feels like summer just got started, but it’s not too early to start thinking back to school. Allocating funds now for supplies, clothing and tech will allow you time to prepare, save and dodge that extra back-to-school-related credit card debt.
  2. Cut back on summer spending. The average family expected to spend well over $800 last year on school-related expenses. That’s certainly not a small amount!

Now’s the time to think about ways you may need to cut back on your spending this summer to ensure you’ve got enough to afford all those back-to-school necessities. For example, you could opt for more backyard barbecues vs taking the family out to eat, or a “staycation” instead of a vacation.

  1. Shop secondhand. Secondhand at consignment stores can save you a ton of money, lessen the back-to-school burden and help to ensure that you avoid adding more to your debt load. You’ll also be surprised to find that many of the clothes are either new or as good as new.
  2. Pay cash for school supplies. if possible, pay cash when purchasing classroom supplies, clothing and the like. This will make it easier to keep track of your expenditures and lessen the likelihood that you spend more than you intended to. If you do need to use credit, our LITs recommend spacing out your school-related purchases over at least a couple of different statements to make repayment easier.
  3. Make a plan for next year. Being prepared is always a good idea. Once you’ve dealt with the bulk of your school shopping for this year, start planning for next year. This could mean that you start a separate savings account and put money aside throughout the year. It could also mean creating a plan to reduce your consumer debt this year so that you feel more in control and less stressed by annual expenses like those that come along when the kids head back to school.

Do you find back to school financially stressful? Join the conversation and share your thoughts sing the hashtags #BackToSchool, #DebtSolutions and #ParentingTips.

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