For better or worse, summer is quickly coming to an end. While children are preparing to head back to school, parents everywhere are double-checking their bank accounts and tallying up back-to-school expenses because, well, all this stuff really adds up. And what's considered reasonable versus extravagant, anyway? For example, how much should you spend on back-to-school clothes? How much do other people spend on back-to-school clothes? Thankfully, there’s no need to ask the uncomfortable question, because we found eight moms willing to share their back-to-school budgets with us.
When I was in school my hard-working, single mother didn't have the ability to spend a boatload of money on back-to-school clothes for her kids. We took whatever we could get, on whatever small budget she managed to scrape together, and sometimes we'd still end up going to school in the same clothes we wore on the last day of the previous school year. Money was always tight, if there was any money around at all. And now that I'm a mother of two I understand my mom's struggle to my core, and in a very profound way. So, while the beginning of another school year can be exciting, it's also stressful for so many parents who are counting quarters and trying to do their best to give their children what they want and need.
I took my kids shopping for just a few back-to-school items and let me tell you: my heart still hurts when I think about the receipts. It all just adds up so fast. Shoes. Pants. Tops. Accessories. Because, yes, my 11-year-old tween daughter needed accessories. Then there are the backpacks, that cost a small fortune. And we haven't even started on the school supplies yet.
I know I'm not alone, and that more than a few parents cringe at the thought of shopping for back-to-school clothes.
Just because the average U.S. family spends over $800 on back-to-school purchases doesn’t mean you must spend this much. Make a budget, and try to make peace with what’s comfortable and realistic for you. Cool backpacks are great and everything, but what kids really need to be successful in school is love and support. And that’s free.