The race to collect all your kid’s school supplies is not nearly as stressful as the money it costs to buy them. Add in new shoes, a backpack, clothing, and a latte during your shopping excursion, and it can equal one BIG bill. Back to school can be costly, there is no denying it, but if you save and plan accordingly, back to school will not blow the budget.

Don’t Buy It All Right Now

Although it feels good to be all prepared, if you are tight on money when spending for school shopping, consider putting some items off. Dave Ramsey points out that some items like backpacks are deeply discounted right as school is starting or just after because everyone else has already bought their new sack. Your child can easily use their old backpack for two or three weeks when school starts, which will save you $15-$20. The same principle can be used for clothing. If you buy a whole new wardrobe at the beginning of the year, you will be headed to buy more clothes come January because your child will have outgrown half of it.

Get The Kids Involved

If you have a good idea of what you’ll likely spend on school supply shopping, set a hard and reasonable budget. Huffington Post suggests being transparent with your child, telling them the amount you can afford to spend and getting them involved staying under budget. You can even incentivize them by promising that if you come in under budget, you will split the savings with them. ConsumerCredit.com also points out that school shopping can be a great life lesson for your child if you get them involved. During the summer months, your kids can even earn money towards their school shopping budget so that they can afford trendy, fancier clothes or gadgets for school.

For more tips on getting your kids involved in saving and raising money-savvy kids, check out our blog from February.

These quick tips will go a long way in getting control over your back to school budget. Being smart about purchases and avoiding convenience or impulse buys can help you keep in control. Plus, if you involve your children when dealing with financial constraints, they will learn important life lessons outside of school, too!