Using Back-to-School Shopping to Teach Kids About Money

Posted on 08/01/2014

Parents will spend more than $500 on their school-aged children for back-to-school supplies. According to a new Deloitte survey, spending on backpacks, notebooks and tennis shoes adds up to $543, which is about 13% less than last year. Instead of only letting your little ones choose between the red folder and the yellow one, use back-to-school shopping as an opportunity to teach kids important money lessons.

Setting a Budget
Start by giving your child a set amount of money for their back-to-school fund. Explain that the money must cover all of their required supplies. This will help kids understand that money is not an infinite resource.

Create a List
Most schools take care of this for students by sending out a list of required school supplies. Print it out and add any additional items that your child needs. Go over the list with them so they understand all of the things that they'll need to buy with their budgeted amount of money.

Learning When to Buy
Kids won't have the experience to know whether or not they're getting a good deal on Crayons, markers and pencils. They don't know if they're over paying for supplies. That's why it's important to tell them what price to look for. Use this Stock Up Price List created by, or make your own version. It puts bargains into perspective and gives kids a better idea of when to buy the items on their list.

Comparison Shop
If you start now, you should have plenty of time to comparison shop for school supplies. The next time you're in the grocery store, Target or CVS, peruse the school supply section with your kids. Have them take note of the prices so they can learn that comparison shopping is a money-saving tool.

Reward Smart Spending
Did your kids spend their budgeted money wisely? Reward good behavior. If they have any money left over after purchasing their necessary supplies, let them use the rest to buy some back-to-school clothing or an extra special backpack. You can all feel good that they're starting the school year having already learned an important lesson in financial responsibility.

By Alison Storm

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