As students head back-to-school, Virginia Tech expert in family and consumer sciences offers up advice to help keep families “happy and their budgets in check.”
Karen Poff, Virginia Cooperative Extension family and consumer sciences agent in Shenandoah County, suggests discussing what your family can realistically afford.
1. Discuss each family member’s goals for back-to-school shopping. Are you trying to minimize expenses? Do your kids want the most “fly” wardrobe? “Everyone may not get exactly what they want, but talking about it in advance may help set a positive tone,” Poff explains.
2. Decide how much the family can set aside for school shopping. Avoid the temptation to use credit cards unless you are able to pay them off in full each month.
3. Let students make decisions within the amount of money they are allotted. If they have more ‘wants’ than the family budget can afford, they may need to use some of their own money or earn money from odd jobs to make up the difference,” explained Poff.
4, Help students put the spending plan in writing to guide decisions they will make at the store.
5. Exercise good consumer skills. Poff encourages parents and students to do some Internet research at home or a library before heading to the store.