If sending the kids back to school is causing you a ton of stress worrying about all those school expenses, then here are some ideas to help you prepare for the expenses and save yourself some money in the process.
1) The school envelope – Grab an envelope and start stashing money in it. This is your emergency backup for the times that you forget to pack a lunch or withdraw the lunch money. It’s also a life-saver when your child appears the morning of a field trip with a permission slip and a need for cash.
2) Ask the school about financial assistance programs – Ok, so it can be a bit embarrassing to ask for reduced tuition, lunch waivers or fee waivers, but if you qualify, why not do it? Use the money that you save to provide for your family in other ways – rather than padding your pride. Been there, done that.
3) Talk to your child’s teachers – Ask them what expenses to plan for. How many field trips will your child take this year? What opportunities will be available to your child later in the year? Teachers plan for these things well in advance and they can give you the inside scoop if you are willing to ask.
4) Free tutoring programs – Most schools offer free tutoring programs where the older children help the younger ones. If your child is showing signs of trouble (or even if they aren’t) make sure to take advantage of all the help you can get them.
5) Pick up a few hours at the school – See if you can volunteer to help out with activities in return for a discount on some of the more expensive opportunities that are available.
6) Musical Instruments – If your child wants to learn to play an instrument, contact your school’s music director and see what they can dig up for you. They may have something sitting around that you can purchase cheaply. You can also check Craigslist, your local paper and your network of friends to get used instruments cheaply.