One of the biggest obstacles parents face during the back-to-school shopping rush is their kids’ desire for the latest-and-greatest products, including expensive items like the newest Apple device, designer jeans, and name-brand sneakers.
Since schedules fill up quickly this time of year, it’s tempting to save time and give into those pricey requests. But instead of letting this shopping craze get out of hand, consider it a great opportunity to teach your children about budgeting and saving.
Turn back-to-school shopping on its head by imparting these seven important lessons about money management.
1. Establishing a budget.
Once you receive the school supply list, sit down with your son or daughter to review items and separate the needs from the wants.
Take inventory of what you already have at home and establish a budget for the missing supplies. If your kids protest about using last year’s supplies, point out the cushion their budget now has for use on items in their wish lists!
2. Setting a savings goal.
If there’s something your child desperately wants like a new pair of Nike sneakers or Ugg boots, teach him or her how to set a savings goal. Offer to match their savings to pay for the “want,” assign money-making chores or encourage them to increase their babysitting or lawn care tasks to pull in more money.
Demonstrating how money must be earned in order to fully finance a want is a wonderful lesson, and your kids may decide all their hard work is worth more than a pair of trendy shoes.
3. Sourcing used options first.
If your son wants that Ninja Turtles backpack or your teenage daughter is requesting designer jeans, show him and her the less expensive options at consignment shops, and how much more a dollar can buy by scouting used over regular retail.
4. Comparing prices for the best deal.
The ShopSavvy app uses a barcode scanner to compare competitor prices for a specific good at both online and nearby brick-and-mortar retailers so you know the cheapest place to buy that item. Plus, everyone will have fun playing detective in the hunt for the lowest price!
Encourage your child to request a price match from customer service, as most stores are willing to meet a competitor’s discount. Some stores like Staples will even go a step further, offering 110% price match guarantee.
5. Considering generic or store-brands for select items.
While shopping for supply basics, your kids may instantly reach for Elmer’s brand of glue or FiveStar brand of notebook. This is a great time to point out the generic or store-brand versions of these products and demonstrate how much less the item costs for very little difference in appearance and utility. Reinforce that saving money on these supplies leaves extra room in the budget for more desirable purchases, like backpacks and apparel.
6. Using digital tools to enhance savings.
In addition to the comparison-shopping app referenced above, there are other digital tools your child can use to save money. For instance, Coupon Sherpa’s free coupon app lists deal to hundreds of stores for instant redemption, including 20% off at Sports Authority or 30% off at Aeropostale.
The Savings Catcher tool on Walmart’s app is another great resource, offering cashback in the form of a gift card for products you purchase that are better priced elsewhere.
7. boosting budget by selling unwanted items.
In addition to saving money, teaching children how to earn money represents another great opportunity this time of year. If your kid is desirous of a pricey product, suggest selling clothes for consignment or trading in an old gadget or video game at sites like Glyde.com or Gazelle.com.
Padding budgets are just as important and stretching them, and this is a great lesson inside hustles!
Guest Post by Andrea Woroch, a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.