I’ve written several times about back to school budget tips, but I was worried about putting them into action. When we finally got the elementary kids back to school lists late last week the kids were thrilled, and I was excited to try out giving them their own budget.
I gave each kid a $50 gift card to cover their back to school supplies (supplied by Women &Co) and let them go with a little advice. I told them that the more frugal they were the further their money would go, and discussed budgeting for things we knew we had to purchase elsewhere.
I’m not alone either. According to a recent Women&Co. survey 55% of moms said they are using back to school shopping as a way to have a money talk with their kids. Additionally 84% of moms feel that their child’s school doesn’t do a good job teaching financial literacy.*
Check out the full survey results in this fun infographic below.
How did the kids do?
With their gift cards in hand the elementary aged kids and I headed to Target to source all the back to school supplies they’d need. Once they purchased their supplies the ‘extra’ funds were theirs to do what they wanted, so it helped them look at the overall price and figure out ways to make their dollar stretch.
One thing we noticed was that some school supplies on our lust required 4 of an item, while they came in packs of three. We balanced this out between the kids so they split up a pack. We also shopped in the office supply section and found some items dramatically cheaper there (most were more expensive though!).
Emma pushing our cart with her new chair inside.
Chaos in the school supply section.
Audrey with list in hand
Here’s the breakdown:
- Emma spent $27 on school supplies, and $20 on a reading chair for her room. The other $3 she spent at another store on book covers.
- Audrey spent $10 on school supplies. She had one item she needs to buy at school for $10 (a big file folder) and set aside $2 for book covers. She also spent $20 on a reading chair as well. The extra $8 she asked for in cash so she could add it to her piggy bank. She wants to save $100 and open a savings account.
- Aidan spent only $7 on school supplies, and since he has a lunch bag and new backpack already, he used the rest on a game controller for our Xbox (a good after school activity), and two Lego sets. While not exactly school-related he learned a lot about how far his dollar could stretch. In fact taking two trips over several days to decide if and what he wanted to spend his money on.
I took away a greater understanding of who needs more financial literacy education, and ways to effectively show the kids ways to save. I also learned that the kids are smarter about money than I realized especially when it’s their money, not mine. 😉
Note: We haven’t purchased any supplies for my 14 year old yet-apparently high school supplies the list AFTER you get there. Fun.
Share Your Back to School Tips to Win Big!
Now it’s your turn! Women & Co. provided me with Mom Talks Money gift cards, so I’m sharing with you! 1 lucky reader will win a $50 Visa gift card! You can use it to start a conversation about money with your kids, and help them pay for their back to school needs.
How to Win $50 for Back to School:
Leave a comment sharing your best back to school budget tip.
Examples include: how to pack a frugal lunch, ways to save big on school supplies, or even how to find the latest clothing trends on a modest budget.
Extra Entries (1 per action, leave a comment for each!):
- Sign up for RSS or email updates from the Centsible Life.
- Follow Women & Co and CentsibleLife on twitter.
- Tweet your back to school shopping tip with hashtag #MomTalksMoney
Giveaway Rules: Open to US entrants over 18 only. One winner will be chosen at random. Please see the Centsible Life’s giveaway rules for more information on giveaways. Ends Tuesday, August 28th, 2012.
Connect with Women&C0.
I’d encourage you to check out Women & Co. and sign up for their newsletter to stay informed and get great personal finance advice from experts. You can also follow them on twitter.
Twitter Chat 8/27
Additionally, I’m hosting a twitter chat Monday, August 27th at 1pm ET/10am PT. It’s my kids first day back to school, and I thought it would be a great time to chat #MomTalksMoney. We’ll be chatting about the concerns moms have about their own finances, and teaching their kids financial literacy.
RSVP here for a chance to win 1 of 4 $50 gift cards I’ll be giving out throughout the hour.
Congrats to our winner, Tabitha who shared her best money saving tips with us,
“I often buy school uniforms for school from the consignment shop and often buy bread when it’s on sale for lunch and saved big on chips for school snacks with the great sales.”
Disclosure: Women&Co compensated me for my time, and provided me with the gift cards for this giveaway.
*According to Women & Co. study.