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Set a Back-to-school Budget

Three kids stand outside a school with their backpacks

Whether you have one child or several children, this time of year can put a dent in your bank account. With a little extra planning, you can save yourself some money with the following tips:

  • Set a back-to-school budget - Determine how much you can spend and stick to your budget.
  • Start early - Taking the time to comparison shop can help you save. Many stores already are starting to have back-to-school sales.
  • Shop sales - This time of year, most retail stores offer back-to-school specials. School supplies, clothing and shoes typically are on sale. Take advantage of these sales to get the biggest bang for your buck.
  • See what you already have - Just because a new school year is about to start doesn’t mean everything (clothing, shoes, backpack, etc.) has to be new.
  • Don’t buy unnecessary items - Stick to the school supply list. Buying extra items may make your child or children happy, but chances are, if an item isn’t on the list, the children will not use it.
  • Check second-hand-stores - Athletics can be a major expense for youth; equipment costs a lot of money. Many second-hand sporting goods stores offer well-maintained equipment for a fraction of the price of new gear.
  • Stock up now - School supplies are very inexpensive this time of year. Stock up on items your child or children may run out of during the school year (pencils, crayons, markers, etc.).

Taking a little time to plan can make a big difference. For more resources on setting financial goals and creating a budget, visit the NDSU Extension Personal and Family Finance webpage at

Carrie Johnson, NDSU Extension Service Personal and Family Finance Specialist, 701-231-8593,