Preparing for Back to School Expenses: A Guide from Your Community Bank

| June 27, 2024 | By

Can you hear the school bells ringing? We can! The back-to-school season is here. Every year, August and September bring with them a mix of excitement and challenges. There’s the anticipation of new classes and friendships; there’s also the task of planning for the semester ahead—and all of its associated expenses.

Fortunately, with a little foresight and the right guidance, preparing for these costs doesn't have to be daunting.

The Real Cost of Back-to-School Expenses (Get Out Your Calculator!)

With knowledge comes power! Begin by accurately estimating what funds you’ll need for the season ahead, and you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions and budget effectively.

To get you started, here’s a list of some common back-to-school expenses:

  • School supplies: These vary based on your child’s age and may include anything from notebooks and pencils to binders and backpacks—or even laptops and specific types of software.

  • New clothing: As children grow, they often need sized-up or seasonal clothing, shoes, or even updated uniforms to start the school year.

  • Extracurricular activities: If your child wishes to participate in sports, arts, or clubs, those often come with their own set of fees and equipment costs.

  • Other expenses: Don't forget about costs like field trips, school photos, and the materials your student will need for special projects.

This is just a starting point. Your needs may change wildly based on your student’s grade and situation. For example, if your child is heading off to college for the first time, furnishing a dorm is an entire savings project in its own right!

It’s also a good idea to check with your child’s teachers and your specific school 

to get a clearer picture of any specific or unique expenses for the year. This proactive approach will help reduce the chances you get blindsided by unexpected costs later on.

Got a Back-to-School Shopping List? Here Are Practical Tips for Budgeting and Saving

Now that you have a real number to work toward, it’s time to figure out how to gather the funds you need for a smooth back-to-school season.

Create a comprehensive budget.

Go through your student’s list of back-to-school must-haves, refer to your family’s income and assets, and create a well-thought-out budget. Assess what your child needs (versus, perhaps, what they want), comb through your schedule for the weeks and months ahead, and allocate your available funds accordingly.

Explore cost-saving strategies.

Every penny counts during back-to-school season. Fortunately, there are several ways you can consider stretching your dollars to ensure all your family’s needs are met, including:

  • Shopping secondhand: You’d be surprised at the quality and variety of academic items (from textbooks to autumn-ready clothes) available for a fraction of their retail price.

  • Tuning into sales and discounts: Many retailers specifically offer back-to-sales and promotions which may help you save big.

  • Checking out community resources: Interact with other parents in neighborhood- or school-related social media groups or online forums. Someone else’s first-year high school student may have essentials your seventh grader could use.

Embrace modern banking solutions for savings.

Modern banks offer far more than simple places to store money.

For example, depending on where you bank, you may be able to access:

  • Checking and savings accounts that can help you earmark funds for specific purposes and track your spending.

  • Mobile banking that connects you with convenient e-payments, direct deposits, and other features to meet your wherever-you-are banking needs.

  • The support of a real, in-person team of bankers. At BNC National Bank, our staff is always ready to provide personalized service if you have questions about strategic banking habits come school season.

How BNC National Bank’s Tools and Resources Can Help With Back-to-School Expenses

The back-to-school season can be as much a lesson in finance as it is in academics. By using the resources available at your local community bank, you can equip yourself with the tools needed to ace this financial test!

Those tools may include:

Dedicated savings accounts.

Did you know you can set up focused savings accounts to set aside money for specific purposes? You can also select accounts beyond basic savings accounts, such as education savings plans tailored for K-12 or college tuition.

Financial literacy resources and support from you

BNC National Bank provides a wealth of accessible financial literacy resources—starting with our blog! We’re proud to ensure that families and students in our community and beyond are empowered to make informed choices about their finances.

Helpful financial products to connect you with the resources you need!

Whether you seek personal loans designed to help families through life’s important moments or want to learn more about education-specific financial savings options, BNC National Bank is ready to help you understand how to navigate the financial challenges of the upcoming school year with confidence.

BNC National Bank is Here to Help You Save for Back-to-School Expenses

We’re proud to be a community bank that understands family needs—and provides informational resources to help our community tackle the back-to-school season well! Interested in learning more about the benefits of partnering with a community bank? Check out our blog on exactly how community banks play into the lives of local community members.

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