According to the dry erase calendar on my refrigerator both my son and daughter have school schedule pickup this week. A new school year is about to start, which means homework in the evenings, earlier bedtimes, bus stop pickups and time for a budget rework. Switching over to the school year schedule also requires a shift to a different budget because there expenses that only occur during the school year. There are also some changes in our purchasing habits that need to change with the shifting schedule, as well as some one time expenses that we need to plan for.
Sports and Activities
My daughter takes dance classes during the school year. These classes are a $50 a month expense that needs to be paid during the first week of the month that we need to add to our budget. She may also join a hip hop dance group through the school that will require an unknown fall sport activity fee. We need to find out more information, and plan for it.
My son eats school lunch every day. School lunch at his high school costs $2.35, but a growing teenage boy sometimes needs a little extra to eat. I usually put $35 in his account every two weeks, adding $70 a month to our budget to account for school lunches.
During the summer, my kids sleep in ridiculously late. So late, in fact, that breakfast foods weren’t really much of a concern. With the forced earlier wake-up time of the school year I’ll again need to add the things they like to eat in the morning to the grocery shopping list.
On the other hand, since they won’t be home for lunch during the week, I can remove from the list items that they’ve been eating for lunches. I do need to get the items needed to make my daughter’s cold lunch as she’s not a fan of the school lunch program. From a spending standpoint this pretty much evens out, but it is a change in shopping that I do need to be aware of.
We picked up the lists made by the school for the kids’ respective grades. Like good parents, we picked up everything on the list, and even an extra package of mechanical pencils and block erasers. We should be good, right? Nope. Inevitably by the end of the first week of school teachers have informed students that they need to purchase some items that they inexplicably left off the list. It’s best to plan ahead for this, as it happens every year.
Sometime during the school year, my daughter will have a swimming unit in her physical education class. We need to make sure we have find a swim suit now, because finding one that she likes in the middle of winter will be extremely time-consuming and frustrating.
It’s convenient to have our son drive to school some days. For him to park at school he needs to have a parking pass. The pass is good for the entire school year, but we’ll need it as soon as possible.
Buying school supplies and new clothes is all part of the process of getting the kids ready for the school year. But there’s no time to breathe a financial sigh of relief once they head off to the first day of school. The school year is filled with one time expenses, and requires a shift in spending paradigms. If we successfully adapt to that shift, we can keep our kids and our budget running smoothly during the upcoming school year.
Do you have kids heading off to school soon? Have you redone your spending plan and planned ahead for the differing expenses of the school year?