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How to Keep Back-to-School Shopping Debt-Free

Already dreading the thought of back-to-school shopping? It doesn’t need to be a painful or expensive endeavor. With a little planning and a healthy aversion to debt, you can make the back-to-school experience better than last year. Here’s some highlight’s from this month’s podcast.

Stretch your money, not your budget

Last year, Canadian families spent an average of $883 on their kids’ back-to-school “necessities” – a number that doubled from the previous year. Now that kids are getting cell phones as early as Grade 4, we expect this number will be even higher this year. Here’s what you can do to keep costs low and avoid adding to your consumer debt:

  1. Add a school expense line to your budget now – The kids have only been out of school for a short time, but now is the time to save up money for those upcoming expenses and any other school related costs over the year. Put aside some money each month so you’re able to cover clothing, back-packs, field trips, tech and grad expenses all year round without needing to rely on credit when those expenses come.
  2. Shop smart – Shop clearance deals all year round so you’re prepared for all seasons. Carve out a closet or any space in your home where you can store these bargains until they’re needed. Late September and early October are the best time to find clearance school supplies. The same is true for end-of-season clothing. You’ll score some amazing deals and you won’t break the bank.
  3. Avoid adding to your debt – Even when you’re finding rock-bottom prices, it’s important to weigh out whether those items are necessary or not. A sale is only a sale if you’re saving money and not going into further debt to afford it. Keep your budget handy when you shop and if you’re prone to using plastic, keep it at home and withdraw your budgeted amount in cash.

Finding it hard to come up with extra money to put away for those back-to-school expenses? It may be worth your time to check out your debt relief options or speak to a professional who can go over your options with you.

And, if you want to learn more about saving money during the upcoming school year, follow Kerry Taylor’s finance blog, Squawkfox for some amazing tips.

 Tune into our monthly podcast. You can also find us on Twitter, using the hashtags #BacktoSchool #DebtSolutions #ParentingTips

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