Youth Account Article of the Month
Back to School: Shop Smart
You don't need to pay a fortune for school supplies if you shop smart. Smart shopping goes beyond setting a budget, coupon-clipping, carefully picking your stores, looking for sales, and comparing prices. Those are the basic prerequisites to smart shopping.
Smart shopping also takes advantage of teaching moments for your child. Do this by involving your child in making a back-to-school shopping list. Ask your child's school or teachers for a list of the supplies they will require this school year, and use it as the starting point to creating your own list—together.
• Teaching moment: Your child learns the importance of organizing.
After listing the items required, ask your child if she has any other "wants" for the list, as your child and you negotiate the extras.
• Teaching moments: Working within a budget, setting priorities, managing money, and saving for the items that don't make it into the budget.
Your shopping list is still a work in progress at this point. Next step: Take inventory of what you already have around the house that can be reused. Help your child redecorate last year's plain notebook with stickers or photos. Use big sister's left-over pencils instead of buying new ones.
• Teaching moment: Recycling is trendy and fun, especially if it buys you a "want" that otherwise wouldn't have been in the budget.
When it's time to shop, draw on the skills you learned in Shopping 101 and begin to model them for your child. Help your child decide when quality is important and when you can let it go. Example: A backpack with a warranty costs more but it's a good investment. On the other hand, math teachers advise that you don't purchase a calculator with more functions than your child will use.
• Teaching moment: Savvy shopping is worth the effort. It can save you a bundle of money.
For more help saving for back-to-school spending, call or stop by United Educators Credit Union. We can help you develop a savings strategy.
Copyright 2010 Credit Union National Association Inc. Information subject to change without notice. For use with members of a single credit union. All other rights reserved.
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