How to Prepare for Back to School

Just like that, back-to-school time is upon us. For many parents, this time of year is stressful. But what if it didn’t have to be?

That’s why I’m sharing a few tips that will help your family get off on the right step this school year. These tips are from the view of your child using their own money to pay for back-to-school shopping, but the same tips apply to parents as well.

Stop Comparing

It’s easy for kids to compare themselves to their peers. We do it as adults and it drives all of us to never be satisfied with the current version of ourselves. Whether it’s wanting a friend’s new pair of jeans or an expensive new car, comparing is never a productive use of time.

For our family, Denise and I routinely coached the girls to identify their priorities and to value themselves and their friends for their character rather than what they were wearing or driving.

Using the First Habits System, they had to make the choices we all make as adults. They prioritized their spending and cut back or eliminated expenses to afford cool jeans.

While they didn’t always make the smart choice for the level of income they had, they learned the consequences and the lesson of overspending. Sitting at home because you can’t afford to go out with your friends tends to make the cool jeans much less appealing.

Through this entire process, they learned the valuable lesson that possessions do not equal happiness or wealth.

Buy the Essentials First

Start planning now for back-to-school shopping. The first step: determine how much you want to spend and stick to it.

Avoid overspending by helping your child identify the must-have items. Look to the school to provide a supply list of mandatory items. Or, sit down with your child to identify the essentials that are needed.

If the cost of the essentials is more than they can afford or if they decide that the cool jeans truly are a must-have, they have two alternatives; cut back somewhere else or find a way to increase income.

Babysitting, mowing lawns or even a part-time job is a great solution as long as it doesn’t interfere with school and, of course, they save part of that new income.

Start the First Habits System

A new routine is a perfect time to start a new habit. Try the First Habits System. This free hands-on financial training program is designed specifically for your preteen or teenager.

Before you start this training program with your kids, parents should first read my book First Habits Win. This book not only helps you set your kids up for future financial success but also provides helpful tips from my own past experiences and can help you manage your own financial life as well.

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