Tips for Curbing Back-to-School Money Stress

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Zions Bank Press Release

Study shows back-to-school shopping causes consumer stress akin to winter holiday season

What causes stress levels akin to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and the surrounding holidays? Back-to-school shopping. A new Bankrate.com survey shows that the pressure parents feel during back-to-school shopping nearly matches the stress of the winter holiday season. More than half (51%) of parents with children under age 18 feel pressure to overspend on back-to-school purchases like clothing, school supplies and tech products, according to Bankrate. That compares to 57% of parents who felt pressure to overspend on holiday shopping 2018.

As back-to-school spending hits a record high in 2019, Patrick Fehlberg, manager of Zions Bank’s Huntington branch, offers the following advice for parents:

Take inventory. Avoid making unnecessary purchases by taking stock of what’s in the house and recycling last year’s school supplies before shopping. Have your kids really outgrown all their shoes and clothing? Do you have extra pens, pencils, folders and rulers?

Make a plan. Before you hit the stores, make sure you have a clear idea of what you need and how much you want to spend. The most important thing you can do is follow a budget and stick to it.

Budget for the big picture. Don’t budget for every specific item. Once you decide what your child will need, budget for the big picture and pick a dollar amount to cap your spending.

Shop sales. For items you don’t already have, check weekly circulars for sales. When you find good sale for school supplies, stock up for the entire year, not just the immediate future.

Involve children. Not all teaching occurs in the classroom, and back-to-school shopping is a prime opportunity for kids to learn about making money choices. Bring kids shopping and let them have a say in shopping decisions.

Reset your goals. Going back to school is a season for fresh starts, and it’s a perfect time to recalibrate your financial goals and help your children do the same. If they don’t already have a savings account, help them open one and set savings goals for the school year.

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