By Megan Martin ©2020 Postmedia Network Inc.
The prospect of children heading back to school can place a strain on families even in the best of times. Add the uncertainty created by COVID-19, and it’s easy to see why the start of the 2020-21 school year is being met with apprehension by some.
In addition to the emotional stress, the financial impact of back to school season can be substantial. In order to help parents prepare for the fall, here we explore six ways to handle back to school on a budget.
1. Shop early for school supplies and save
Many school boards send out supply lists for the year to come as early as June, so there’s a good chance you already know what your child will need in September. From crayons to calculators and chemistry sets, looking for supplies early gives you the advantage of being able to shop around for the best prices.
Start by searching for school supplies online, looking at websites of big box stores and vendors which provide huge savings on back to school supplies in the summer months.
Waiting until the last minute can result in panic buys, where parents are forced to pay top dollar for items their kids can’t go without. Shop early to save!
2. Reuse what you can from the last school year
Before you begin back to school shopping for supplies, clothes and accessories, be sure to look through what’s left from last year’s stock. This is particularly relevant now, because the global pandemic ended the school year early.
It’s possible your child has unopened supplies and unworn clothes that can be recycled for the start of the 2020-21 academic year. The same is true for larger items such as backpacks, lunch bags, electronics and more.
3. Meal plan for school snacks and lunches
One of the reasons parents often end up blowing their grocery budgets regularly is because of bad planning.
Whether it’s buying snacks and lunches or ordering dinner on weeknights, the dollar amounts may seem small, but they can really add up. Just $10 a day in unplanned meals and snacks will equate to more than $300 over the course of a month. Planning ahead can have a huge impact on your family’s food spending and there are dozens of apps that can help you map out grocery lists in order to make specific meals on any given day.
Try planning out school lunches for the week and preparing them all on Sunday to save time as well as money during the week.
4. Prepare for the possibility of homeschooling
While many school boards around the country have confirmed in-person classes in the fall, if the number of COVID-19 cases begins to surge, it’s entirely possible that the government will announce a school lockdown, as they did in March.
Homeschooling is a difficult reality for many parents, especially in families where both parents are working.
Planning ahead can, at the very least, provide some peace of mind. Having discussions with family members who are willing to offer their support, such as grandparents, and setting up dedicated workspaces at home, can help parents navigate the situation if homeschooling become necessary once again.
5. Reallocate funds whenever possible
Aside from all the stuff kids need for school, there are field trips, special programs, equipment, and other expenses that may come up.
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, it’s entirely possible your family’s budget for things like travel and restaurant dining has been relatively untouched since March. Putting those funds aside for unexpected school related costs might be a good idea.
6. Know your options in the event of unforeseen circumstances
All of the costs associated with back to school can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’ve experienced an income interruption related to the economic fallout from COVID-19.
If your family could use some short term financial assistance, it’s important to know that there are options. Since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, iCASH has provided expedited financial support to families in need across the country.
iCASH is a trusted Canadian licensed online lender that specializes in providing low cost, easy to access instant loans with multiple repayment options. These types of loans are ideal when unexpected financial situations come up.
With iCASH, Canadians can be ready for the back to school season or anything that life may throw their way.
Get started today; it’s easy. Simply complete an online loan application and you’ll get instant approval.
For more information, visit https://icash.ca
This content was produced by Content Works, Postmedia’s custom content studio.