Back to school is a time when many moms witness their money sprout wings and take flight, finding their homes at retail stores across America. I know that consumer spending is good for the economy, but I don't take it upon myself to keep the entire US economy propped up, so when my first-grade son announced that he wanted a backpack with rollers, I saw this as a wonderful financial teaching moment. His school is small, and he doesn't walk to or from school. He didn't need rollers.
I told my son that I would give him $8 toward a backpack. I told him that if he wanted a fancier one, he could put up some of his allowance money for the difference. That's the rule at our house. Mom and Dad buy the basics and the kids buy the extras. It was amazing how my son's perception of the need for rollers changed when his allowance was on the line. Yes, he has concluded, a regular backpack will do the trick this year.
Thousands of parents are buying back-to-school supplies. From crayons and notebooks to calculators and lunch boxes, the list of what to buy can be as long as the list of your kids' excuses. I know that you are anxious to get your kids back into school, but there is no need to take out a second mortgage just to get rid of them. Instead, use some of these money-saving tips from www.LivingOnADime.com and you can happily send your kids to school and keep some of the cash for mom's back-to school celebration!
Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are the authors of Dining On A Dime: 1,000 Money Saving Recipes and Tips. (formerly Not Just Beans) Dining On A Dime will help you shop smarter, by cooking simpler meals and by making your own basic cleaning products and beauty aids. For free tips and recipes, visit www.LivingOnADime.com/
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