Now that summer is coming to an end, it’s time to look ahead towards the end of the year. Planning for fall and winter expenses can be stressful; kids back to school lists seem to get longer each year, and the holiday season brings added financial pressure.  With a little bit of budgeting and planning now, you can ease the stress on yourself and your wallet later.

Back-to-school shopping is a known, periodic expense if you have children; this means you can plan for it in your annual budgeting. However, if you’re in crunch time for buying school clothes and supplies, here’s a few ideas.

  • Work with your children in discussing “needs” vs. “wants” when it comes to decorative supplies or re-wearing clothes.
  • Find a system where your child can contribute a little of their own money. This helps you save a little and instills financial responsibility in your child.
  • Start taking inventory early. Figure out what supplies can be recycled for the next school year. You can rip out used paper in a notebook to reuse the majority of book.

Yes, it’s only August, but trust us: thinking about these holiday-related savings tips will only help in the long run.

  • Review last year’s bills and receipts. Were you over budget? Can you stay in this range? How long did it take to repay?
  • Make your gift lists now with per-person budgets.
  • Set up a separate savings account with a “holiday” category.
    • Make weekly savings goals.
    • Save loose change at home.
  • Start checking for deals and sales NOW, not just around Black Friday shopping.
  • Try to order as many gifts as possible from the same online retailer to help cut down on shipping costs.
  • Remember to budget for the “small” expenses: postage, wrapping paper, decorations, food and drinks, etc.

Sources: American Bankers Association, American Consumer Credit Counseling. The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only.  For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.