Sunday, August 22, 2021 – 1:00 p.m.

With autumn approaching, school supplies lists appear in the shops among the rows of colorful folders, notebooks, pens and pencils.

According to the Clark County UW-Extension Office, the National Retail Federation plans to have families with children in elementary school through high school spend $ 848.90, $ 59 more than last year.

Especially for those with kids from elementary school to high school, shoppers spend most of their budget on electronics, new clothing, and accessories.

“The pandemic forced parents and their school-age children to adapt quickly to virtual learning, and they did so with incredible determination and flexibility,” said Matthew Shay, President and CEO of NRF.

“We’re starting the new school year with plans to get back into the classroom, and retailers are ready to help Americans find and buy anything they need to make this transition as smooth as possible.”

With the excitement of getting back to the classroom after the disruptive 2020 school year, people are more likely to be more likely to spend too much money. “Back to school spending is almost the same as vacation spending,” says Nancy Vance Family Living Educator at the University of Wisconsin Clark County Extension.

“Many households set aside money year round to cover their vacation expenses, but back to school always seems to creep up on us and add up quickly.”

Before you hit the stores or get online, spending a little planning time can help break your budget. Here are some helpful tips to help you save on your budget. First, go through last year’s school supplies and clothing and list all the items and clothing you already have on hand.

Does your child really need a new backpack or a new lunch box? Do the jeans from last year still fit? Also take into account fees paid directly to the school, such as B. book rental, band instrument rental or sports fees, as well as required vaccinations and list these fixed costs in the category “must”.

Paying for lunch can also be surprisingly expensive. Free and discounted school lunch programs in your school district can ease budget pressures for eligible families.

Next, consider what items your child will need when they start school and what items can wait a month or two. Maybe a new pair of pants or two will be enough to get back to school, especially if your child is experiencing a growth spurt.

Waiting for some items to buy until later fall and the preseason sales gives the child time to grow and the opportunity to spread the expense. Then use your child’s school supplies list, your required school fee list, and your list of clothes needed to come up with a total budget amount for each child in school.

Finally, compare your budgeted amount with your monthly expenses. Are there places you can cut other bills to find funding to go back to school? What resources does your community have to help raise your dollar?

School districts often have information about school supplies donations and clothing swaps sponsored by local services. With a little planning in advance, your school shopping in 2021 can fit into your budget and this year it can be a joyous experience and celebration.

For more information, contact Nancy Vance, Family Life Educator at Clark County UW Extension at 715-743-5121.

If you have any questions and / or comments, please feel free to contact us.