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How can I budget for back to school spending?

Send Your Kids Back to School on Budget
Tips & Tricks to Help You Stay on Point

You’ve got your list—and they’ve got theirs! What do your kids really need for school? And what’s the best way to pay for it all? Back-to-school shopping is big business—and it’s getting bigger each year! According to the National Retail Federation, American families will spend an average of $600-$800 for each school or college aged student in their family. So what will you spend your money on? Most of it will probably go to clothing or dorm essentials, though your kids may do their best to get the latest electronics into your cart as well!


1. Decide how much you can spend. Set a budget and stick to it.

2. Decide between ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ A $200 pair of jeans may put your child at the top of the best-dressed list, but they won’t do a thing for his or her GPA. Explain your back-to-school budget to your child, and work together as a family to determine which items are essential.

3. Make a list and stick to it—and get your child involved. Resist those impulse purchases; they can really add up. Sit down with your child and go over your list together. You’ll be teaching him or her to stay organized and to budget— skills that apply to more than shopping.

4. Take inventory. Sort through last year’s supplies to see what is left over or can be reused.

5. Shop early. Watch for sales—you can find back-to-school discounts on just about everything. Mid- to late-summer is the best time to grab bargains.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. RCU’s Visa Platinum Credit Card is a great way to pay for back-to-school expenses because of low-rates and a generous rewards program.

You want your kids to have everything they need to succeed. And we want to help! Applying is quick and easy! Get started - call 1 (800) 479-7928, visit your local RCU branch or visit