Back To School Budget Tips

Backpacks packed, pencils sharpened, and excitement in the air – it's that time of the year again, when the campus comes alive with the promise of new beginnings. The back-to-school season is upon us, offering a fresh start for students of all ages. Whether you're a wide-eyed first-grader or a seasoned college veteran, the return to school brings with it a mix of anticipation and a touch of nervousness. But fear not! We're here to equip you with budgeting tips and strategies to make this academic year your best one yet.

Tip #1 Prioritize needs vs. wants

Make sure your back-to-school lists (and your budget) tackle needs first.

  • Shoes that fit on the first day of school are a must, but a new iPad may not be.
  • Take an inventory of what is available before you go shopping. You may already have some of the necessary items.
  • Try on clothes, uniforms, backpacks, shoes, etc - don't just assume things from last year will fit or still work for this year.

Tip #2 Start early and spread out the shopping.

One exhaustive back-to-school shopping spree is a surefire budget killer.

  • Plan to shop multiple times to take advantage of sales and discounts.
  • If you start early, you can buy a few things now, some next week, and some next month to spread out the financial impact.
  • Check online or in your mailbox for discount codes, coupons and BOGO offers and pay attention to the use-by dates.

Tip #3 Understand cheap vs. value

Consider investing in pieces that require lots of wear-and-tear, like backpacks, jeans, jackets, and shoes.

  • Look for deals on high-use items so they will last longer.
  • Cheap things cost less up front, but they often reflect it in the quality.
  • Nobody wants to save money initially on a cheap backpack only to have to replace it when it falls apart after a couple months of use.

Tip #4 There are better ways to fund your back-to-school shopping than a high-rate credit card.

Cornerstone offers small personal loans for back-to-school spending with a much lower interest rate than a credit card.

  • A personal loan may offer better interest rates and a more affordable solution to funding your back-to-school shopping.
  • CCF's Back-to-School loan offers amounts up to $5,000 with low, competitive rates, and flexible payback terms.
  • Decisions are made quickly and locally, so you can access your funds very soon after approval. Apply online anytime.