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Saving money after school starts

Janell Poulette is one of our SheKnows Experts. She writes the blog www.savingyoudinero.com where she focuses on helping families find great deals and save money. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

A budget for all school expenses

It's that time again. If your kids have not already gone back to school, they should be starting soon. You have probably already bought all the required school supplies from their list and spent a small fortune. Many stores had incredible deals — so hopefully you were able to save money doing your back-to-school shopping.

Group of school children

A budget for all school expenses

It's that time again. If your kids have not already gone back to school, they should be starting soon. You have probably already bought all the required school supplies from their list and spent a small fortune. Many stores had incredible deals — so hopefully you were able to save money doing your back-to-school shopping.

I cannot believe how much a public education can cost a family. Between the long school-supply list, the clothes or uniforms and the extracurricular activities, some families may have to take out a small loan. When I was in school, it was a lot cheaper. We did not have to bring wipes and boxes of tissues for the whole class.

Set a budget

Now that you have finished that part of your shopping, how can you save money during the school year? Well, first you need a budget. You should not wait until baseball season starts in January to find the money that is needed to join the baseball team — and to buy all the supplies needed to play. If you can find out the cost now and put away a little bit every month, the fee will not be such a shock.

Buy in the off-season

Sports can be an expensive activity. You will probably also have to buy a baseball glove, a bat, cleats, some practice balls, practice pants, etc. It may be too late now but there are always really great sales during the off-season. If you can, buy some of these needed supplies when they are discounted. You can buy some practice pants the next size up. You can even find these items at used sporting goods stores at a discount. When you plan ahead you can save over 50 percent! My nephew plays baseball at his high school. The registration fee isn’t too much, but the costs for his equipment are what can put a parent into debt.

You can apply these rules to anything. If you can anticipate the cost, plan ahead and make a budget, it will be much easier for you to say “yes” when your child asks to participate in extracurricular activities.

Stock up on clearance items

The back-to-school sales may be over — but that means the clearance has just begun. I can usually find a great deal on school supplies after they go back to school. Stores want to clear out their back-to-school inventory so they can start getting ready to sell Christmas items. I always stock up on the basics like paper, notebooks, pencils, folders and crayons. These are items we can always use, so I like to buy them when they are very cheap. You could also donate some items.

Search for coupon codes

Clothing stores will also be getting rid of their summer inventory to get ready for fall and winter. This is another great time to buy clothes for your kids to wear next year. Set a budget so you can buy winter clothes and new shoes as needed. Always watch the sales and try to find a coupon code to maximize savings. If you shop online, you can often find a better deal because there are usually coupon codes you can use.

Don’t feel like you need to have everything now for the new school year. Buy the items as they are needed and create a small budget so you can buy items for the future and save money during the clearance sales.

More tips for the new school year

Top apps for school year scheduling
Keep your latchkey kid safe this school year
Time-management tips for sending the kids back to school

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