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Home News The Debt Doctor

Back to School and Debt: Tips to Avoid the Financial Stress of a New School Year

John Thompson for local2 sault ste. marie
August 8th, 2012 at 8:13am

This article is a column or editorial.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of LOCAL2.

DEBT DOCTORThe start of August brings mixed feelings … the desire to have summer last forever combined with the start of a new school year and the return to a more routine way of life. The financial challenges associated with back to school are often stressful. Here are some useful tips to beat the September stresses:

• Develop a Written Plan
A great way to reduce stress is to sit down with your family and prepare a list of things that need to be done. Attempt to separate the “wants” from the “needs”. This process helps prioritize necessary tasks and purchases allowing for the creation of a spending plan based on realities. It also helps educate your younger family members about the constraints of real life situations.

• Consider All Resources
Are your children able to contribute to the spending plan by finding part time jobs that can contribute to their “wants”? Are you able to share resources with other families? Do friends have “hand me downs” that can be used to reduce costs?

• Keep Track of Spending
As you spend based on your written plan be sure to track your spending by category and update the plan to assist in avoiding overspending.

• Avoid Using Credit Cards
Avoid using credit cards to make purchases. Attempt to pay cash to avoid high interest rate charges that result from not paying the entire credit card balance by the due date.

• Save for Annual or Occasional Expenses Over the Entire Year
Although it is late for this year, attempt to save small amounts each month into a savings account for expenses that come up once or twice a year. Back to school time is financially demanding. By saving a small amount monthly, financial stresses can be minimized. Use this year’s plan as a guide to estimating next year’s costs, divide the total by 12 and save that amount each month.

Setting a customized family budget can be challenging. BDO professionals can help you developed a tailored plan to address your unique needs.

If you would like to meet and review your specific situation drop me an email at ssm@bdodebthelp.ca and take advantage of our free consultation – get peace of mind back.

John Thompson, BDO Canada Limited


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