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3 Ways to Ease the Back-to-School Budget Blues

Jun 06, 2019

July may seem too early to think about back-to-school, but it will be here Kids getting on school busbefore you know it. It’s a brand-new school year, full of new opportunities, but it can cause a bit of anxiety, too. With some preparation and thoughtful budgeting, you and your children may find it easier. And the kids may learn a little something about finances in the process! Here are three tips to get you started:

  1. Include your children in budget planning: Instead of going into debt to get everything they need immediately, talk to your kids about what’s most important to them. Maybe they don’t want a new wardrobe but have something else in mind. Or perhaps those extracurricular activities you think they want to do don’t interest them anymore. We sometimes forget that their expectations may differ from ours. The budgeting moment gives you a chance to talk about all that. And when it comes to back-to-school spending, it’s a great time for our kids to learn about paying for needs before wants.


  2. Consider giving one lump sum: Split the back-to-school budget and give each child an amount, letting them know that’s all they get for new clothes and supplies. They may decide brand names aren’t worth the extra cost as they strategize how to stretch the budget. Or, they may decide a certain pair of sneakers is worth the extra expense and choose less expensive options for other items. Offer to help them talk through their decisions.


  3. Make a list: Before you shop, create a list with your children’s help. That list helps you prioritize what’s really needed and not spend money on the extras. If your child knows you’re buying only what’s on the list, they’ll be less likely to ask for everything they see (and it makes it easier for you to say no).


When budgeting is over and you’ve moved on to the spending part of the program, take along your RCU credit card. Both RCU’s Visa Platinum credit card and Visa Signature credit card offer low rates and a generous rewards program.

You want your kids to have everything they need to succeed, and we want to help! If you don’t yet have a Visa Platinum or Visa Signature® card, applying is quick and easy. Get started by visiting, calling 1 (800) 479-7928, or by visiting your local RCU branch.


*Rates effective 06/01/19. All rates, terms and special offers subject to change. Certain restrictions apply. For cash advances at a non-RCU location, the greater of 2% of the advance or $20 will be charged. Cash advance transactions and balance transfers are excluded from earning points.  

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