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Money Conversations: The Next School Year is Right Around the Corner

For kids May means school is almost out, and some parents sigh in relief, while others sigh in disbelief. Whatever you are sighing about, there is one thing we all need to agree upon: this is not the time to relax yet. It is high time to start preparing for the next school year which will be here in a blink of an eye. You will be thankful you started planning early.

Start by making the list of current expenses your child already has. Then add any changes you are anticipating for the next year:

Is your child going to have new classes which will require extra expenses (computer, lab equipment, etc.)?

Is your child planning to enroll into new extracurricular activities which will require supplies/uniforms, etc? Do you need to buy a musical instrument, dance outfits, sports uniforms?

Do you anticipate any field trips? Performance expenses next year?

Divide your list into two categories: one-time expenses and ongoing expenses. For example, uniforms, computers and instruments are pretty much a one-time expense right at the beginning of the year. Tuition and fees may be due monthly or periodically. Mark the due dates for each expense. This will help you to have a clear picture of the timelines you are looking at. Now you can total the amounts in both categories separately and then together, for one grand total. Now you can get to the next step of the conundrum which is deciding how you will be covering those expenses.

Ideally, you should have a savings account for this purpose into which you have been depositing for the whole year already. If so, you already have this figured out and all you have to do is budget for any difference. This would be a piece of cake. If no such saving account exists, you should consider starting one this year and deposit 1/12th of your grand total from the previous paragraph monthly. This way next year at this time you will be pretty much all set.

If you are completely new to this and just starting to budget for the coming year, there are several options you can consider:

• You still have three months before kids go back to school, so you can divide your total due by 3 and save up during the summer.

• If your kids are old enough to work, consider getting them a summer job to help pay for the expenses.

• Do a fund raiser. There are a lot of websites where you can purchase goodies to resell to raise money for your project. Kids love fundraisers.

• Turn your hobby into a money maker. If you or your kid have a hobby, or better yet, share one, consider turning it into a money maker. For example, if you bake cakes, crochet or paint, try to sell your creations online or at local fairs.

• Create an exchange club. If you have friends/acquaintances with kids in school, you can consider swapping gently used clothes and supplies. Not only does that help with your budget, but also prolongs the life of these items and helps the planet.

These ideas could work not only for the summer, but actually throughout the whole year. By involving your children in sharing the financial responsibility for their own schooling, you are preparing them for the big world and giving them an invaluable lesson, which takes schooling experience to a whole new level.

About The Author

Jane Vazquez

Jane Vazquez is a Certified Financial Counselor. She is a co-owner of a Mississippi-based company that provides services of financial consulting, bookkeeping, and tax return preparation, among others. You can reach her at www.srvcvazquez.com.

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