Parents, if this is your first time at the back-to-school rodeo, let me share a few lessons my wife and I have learned the hard way. Chances are you'll be spending the next few weeks filling out piles of pre-enrollment paperwork, lining up carpools and, of course, taking the dreaded shopping excursions for clothes and school supplies.
Get organized. Maintain a correspondence file from your kid's school for things like registration requirements, report cards, permission slips, required vaccinations, school policies, teacher and parent contact information, etc. Ask whether the school has a website, online calendar or email list you can join. Also, create a family master calendar.
Back-to-school shopping. Between new clothes, classroom supplies and extracurricular activity fees and equipment, many parents end up spending more than they budgeted per child. Ideally, you've been setting money aside all year. If not, you'll need to determine what you can afford to spend without blowing your overall budget.
Here are a few organizational and money-saving tips:
Before you shop, make a comprehensive list for each child. Use previous years' expenses as a guide and compare notes with other parents and school officials.
This article is intended to provide general information and should not be considered health, legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.