School Time Is Here – Time To Redo Your Budget!

EOD_SchoolPicAccording 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.

School Lunches

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.

Grocery Shopping

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.

School Supplies

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.

Swim Suit

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.

Parking Pass

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?


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10 Responses to “School Time Is Here – Time To Redo Your Budget!”

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  1. We need too. We have drivers ed x 2 to deal with this fall, SAT tests, etc, going to be a fun, expensive year.

    • Travis says:

      We did driver’s ed last year…..definitely something to plan for. Sounds like you’ve got a handle on what expenses are coming, now you just have to execute! Thanks for reading, Brian!

  2. My youngest daughter is heading off to her last year of high school next week. Where does the time go?

    The good news is that my budget does not change one penny. The bad news is that I divorced 10 years ago and have been paying child support. Next year at this time, my budget will be eliminating that line item!

    • Travis says:

      Sounds like one of those good news/bad news things, Bryan – watching the kids grow into adults is satisfying, yet heartbreaking all at the same time!

  3. I don’t have kids and never really thought about a second budget. But it makes total sense. You have different expenses in the summertime and the school year with kids.

    The question I have is how long did it take you to realize you needed 2 budgets? Were you overspending in the summers for a few years and then realized you needed 2 budgets? It would be interesting to hear how you came about the realization.

    • Travis says:

      Well, Jon, we came about the realization when we actually made a budget. LOL. That was part of our downfall into having a huge hole of credit card debt. Once we actually made a budget, and tracking our spending we noticed that when summertime hit we could remove some things from the budget. That added money to our discretionary fund for the summer months…..but when school started and entries started going into the check register that didn’t fit in any of the budget buckets, we knew something was missing….

  4. School stuff really does add up! I have to remember to budget for kid’s lunches now, where they were included in the cost of daycare all summer.

    • Travis says:

      That’s a big one too….and can be variable. When I was in school there was just lunch. Now they have so many options….I’ve seen my son spend over $10 one day at school lunch. I gotta put that kid on a lunch budget!

  5. There certainly are school expenses,expected and surprising, that pop up for us every fall. Since our daughter is only 8, we still had some day care and camp expenses during days Jim and I both worked this summer, so school costs aren’t really more than summer ones, just different. I’m sure it will go way up when she is a teenager.

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