School Year Budget Considerations
by Rich Piatt
As we get closer to the upcoming school year the excitement builds…unfortunately so do expenditures.
Whether it is grade school, high school, or college there are costs involved with the school year that can add stress in what should be some of the best times of our lives as both parents and students. Clothing, athletic equipment, band rental, field trips, activity tickets, $20 to go out with friends for pizza after a ball game, and many other expenses go with the school year.
Even though it is difficult to define all upcoming school year expenses there are steps that can be taken before the school year begins that will help manage these costs.
- Account for ‘anticipated’ expenses: It is worth taking some time in August to lay out the events the student is most likely to participate. From here one can estimate the upcoming expenditures and when these expenditures are most likely to occur. As an example if a student is participating in a fall sport the funds for equipment and travel will be needed early in the school year, while choir and theatre may have more expenses in late fall through spring. Laying out an estimate will allow one to determine how much money is going to be needed and when those dollars will be required.
- Discussion on responsibility for expenses: As students get older (15+) and start working part-time it is fair to ask them to cover some expenses…ie a portion if not all of their car insurance, a portion of their cell phone bill, some or all of their spending money when going out with friends. This may be hard for students who are extremely active with school activities, but even some dollars made during the summer months can be spread out to assist with their school expenses. An added benefit to this is the pride they will take in the ownership of paying some of their expenses.
The school years really should be the best of times. By staying ahead of the curve when possible on expenditures one can have more time to enjoy the ride and less on worry from unexpected costs.
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