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School Year Saving Strategies

October 7, 2016

The back-to-school sales have fizzled out and the excitement of new teachers and classes may have worn off, but your school year budget should still be top-of-mind. It’s not too late to make saving a priority. Reduce the burden of continuing school expenses and help your budget make the grade.

Extracurricular Costs:
From seasonal sports to year-round clubs, extracurricular activities can drain your wallet. For younger children, instead of rushing to the store to buy new athletic gear, consider buying gently used or even borrowing from a friend. Wear-and-tear is reduced when growth spurts occur more regularly. Likewise, if your child is interested in picking up a new hobby or playing an instrument, borrow or buy used before paying top-dollar for new. Interests can shift almost as fast as a child grows. For older children, consider using extracurricular expenses as an opportunity to teach financial responsibility. Discuss budgeting allowances to help cover the cost of club dues, athletic gear or homecoming attire.

BYOL (Bring Your Own Lunch):
The costs of school-bought snacks and lunches can add up. Taking the time to prepare food to bring to school can significantly reduce costs in the long run. If mornings are hectic and you would rather not spend time each night packing food to go, dedicate a block of time before the week begins to prepare several food options that are easy to pack. Invest in reusable containers and lunchboxes to further reduce long-term expenses. In addition to saving money, you and your kids can also benefit from choosing healthier options.

Make the Most of What You Have:
While the late summer months are notorious for school supply sales, retailers still have sales in the off-season. Be on the look, and when prices are low for items you anticipate needing later, stock up. Be sure to take inventory of what you have and avoid throwing out supplies that could be used later. Come middle of the year when pencils have been lost and notebooks have been filled, draw from your reserve and keep cash in your pocket.

Post back-to-school season comes with its own assortment of expenses. Prioritize spending and reduce costs when you’re able in order to maximize your budget. Small changes can make a significant impact over the course of the entire school year, and sound habits can encourage your children to make smart choices.

Jim Oosterman is the Vice President of Melrose Bank. He can be reached by telephone at 781-665-2500, online at or on Facebook at

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