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Always popular with parents – ‘tis the season of back-to-school! To help prepare for summer’s end and a return of kids to the classroom, without feeling the financial pinch, read on for our top 7 back-to-school budget tips.

Only buy essential school supplies right away – purchase any remaining school supplies that are needed once last year’s extras are gone. One the back-to-school frenzy has settled you’ll likely save at clear-out sales after the August rush.

Avoid new purchases gathering dust at the back of the closet by finding out what your kid thinks is trendy before you spring for new shoes, backpack or handheld device. Don’t forget to check online and in flyers for coupons or savings codes – especially for pricier items!

Get together with other parents and buy supplies in bulk! Pool your money to buy the goods then divide the supplies between everyone’s children.

Plan ahead for lunches. If your child is brown-bagging it for school lunches, plan ahead on what they’ll be eating – this saves wasted food and cuts down on doling out lunch money if you run out of something. If your child is older and buys their lunch daily, offer to compromise – purchase half the lunches and get them to step up to the plate and make a lunch to take the other days of the week.

Give older kids a set budget for certain items – if they want a costly name brand, offer to pay the budgeted amount and have them pay the balance. This is a great opportunity to teach kids about managing their money and make choices about needs versus wants.

Just like shopping for anything, stick to a budget AND list of what you need to purchase. Most schools will provide a list of necessary supplies in June, or post them on their website. Use cash when making purchases to keep an eye on your outgoing funds and costs.

Save all year. Back-to-school happens every year, so rather than scrambling to find the funds each September, set aside some money each month into a savings account. Saving $5 per week beats finding over $250 dollars all at once!

Last year nearly 8 in 10 Canadians said they felt annual back-to-school shopping was becoming increasingly expensive, and staying on top of a budget was a priority for most. Set yourself up for a financially-successful school year!

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