It's no secret that children’s schedules shift radically once they start going back to school. If you’re a parent, though, you’re also very aware that your own schedule changes, too. Mornings become more hectic as you help your children get ready for school, but you also get some quiet time during the day for yourself, especially if you’re a remote worker.
You probably already have a list of projects you’d like to get done once your children start going back to school. Before you get started on them, though, there are a few financial tasks you might want to accomplish. They don’t take that long, and they’ll help to ensure you and your finances are prepared for the rest of the year.
Adjust Your Budget
Let’s face it—when your kids go back to school, your expenses shift dramatically. You don’t have to worry about extra groceries for family lunches, but you might want to set aside some cash for school extracurriculars. In other words, you’ll want to review your budget and adjust it to fit your new financial situation.
Fortunately, adjusting your budget isn’t hard. All you have to do is go through your budget, and in addition to seeing if you overspent in any categories, look for any categories that aren’t relevant anymore, such as “summer camp” or “camping supplies.” You might also want to add in new budget categories for expenses ranging from extracurricular activities to holiday shopping.
Speaking of which...
Fall is a wonderful time of year, but it’s also the onset of several holidays, starting with Labor Day and ending on New Year’s Day. That means you’ll have to buy candies, costumes, groceries and gifts, as well as save up enough money to travel to see your extended family multiple times.
There’s no getting around the fact that paying for all these holidays will be expensive, but you can help mitigate the damage to your bank account by planning now. Start thinking about how much you can save from each paycheck to prepare for these events, as well as figure out the best way to pay for all of them, from using a rewards credit card to opening up a personal line of credit.
If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you could always make each of these holidays a S.M.A.R.T. goal. In other words, make sure that each of these goals is:
By making each holiday a S.M.A.R.T. goal, you’re fleshing out vital details about how much you intend to spend for each holiday, not to mention where you’ll get that money. This can take a lot of the stress out of holiday preparation.
Buy for the Next Season
Almost every major holiday is followed by a clearance sale that takes place after the event is over. While going back to school hardly qualifies as a holiday, it’s still an event, and once kids have started going back to school, stores usually hold clearance sales to get rid of the extra merchandise they ordered.
If you plan ahead, you can take advantage of these sales to save yourself some money when your children go back to school the following year. Get a copy from your child’s school about what they’ll need for their next grade (or from the middle or high school your child will be attending). All you have to do after that is shop around and see what items you can buy on sale, like pencils, pens, folders and paper.
Once you’ve made all these financial moves, it’s time to sit back for a moment and treat yourself. Parents work hard, and over the past couple of years their job has been that much harder. Get yourself a nice drink from a coffee house, buy a book or maybe get a fun app.
Prepare for Fall With First Alliance Credit Union
When your kids have gone back to school, you have the opportunity to take some time for yourself. However, you also have an opportunity to make sure you’re prepared not just for fall, but for all the holidays that are coming up.
You can also get yourself ready for the fall season when you become a member of First Alliance Credit Union. Open up a club savings account to help you prepare for holidays or vacations, use the My Money tool in our online banking platform to help you adjust your budget—or create one!—or just use our Advisor Supported Kiosks to get your banking done at any hour of the day.