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Those Little Extra School Expenses Ruining Your Budget? Plan Ahead!

By Susanne Myers

Now that you’ve gotten your family budget perfected, what can go wrong? After all, you’ve worked in savings, paying off the credit cards, and making all the regular monthly payments, not to mention having a little for a vacation fund. Even a financial planner would envy what you’ve done with your family’s finances.

Then school starts. That shouldn’t be a problem because you’ve budgeted in some money for “incidentals” which should cover those minor school expenses. And, now that school’s in session, you can factor out the daycare expenses and direct that money elsewhere. So far, you’re feeling pretty secure every payday. Well, that’s the plan anyway, but what was it again they say about best laid plans?

So, school is in session and now you’re seeing the error in your plan. It seems every note in those backpacks coming home from school has a dollar sign attached to it. Your children have started to resemble little panhandlers, standing there with their hands out, holding a permission slip and a request for money to cover “the costs.”

I’m sure you don’t begrudge your child a field trip to the museum or money for pictures or special books and projects, but are you beginning to wonder where you’re going to get this money on such short notice? The first few requests for money are often a surprise, and even if you’re fortunate enough to have a little “cookie jar” fund, you’re probably worried about how often this is going to happen throughout the school year. In most homes, the cookie jar is about empty.

If you’re starting to feel as if the poor-house is your next stop every time your youngster opens up their backpack after school, you no doubt need to rethink your strategy. Your family budget has expenses that must be met every month, and these miscellaneous expenses that you’re paying all school year belong in that category. It’s time to consider these expenses as not miscellaneous, but as a fixed expense in your family’s budget.

If you’re looking around for money to pay for unexpected school expenses, you’re probably going to find it in a place that can’t afford to share. You’re going to be borrowing from a budgeted item to pay for an unplanned expense. Why is this going to ruin your family’s budget? Because the time will come when the item you borrowed from, whether grocery money, utility money, or credit card payment money, will have to be reimbursed in order to make the next installment. If it is the grocery money that’s been depleted, then the next time you go to the grocery store, you’re using the credit card. If it’s the credit card payment that’s been borrowed against, well, you can see where this is going. It looks like you’ll need to plan for these unforeseen school expenses then, but how?

Your school district, like most, very likely has a curriculum laid out for the school year, or at the very least, the semester. Most states require a curriculum for both public and private schools at all grade levels. The curriculum should include school sponsored events like field trips, fund-raisers, library sales, and the like. This is information that you are entitled to.

Start at your child’s school office, talking with the principal, office manager, or school board member. Be sure to talk with your child’s teacher or teachers, as well, as they may have a plan that has not been approved yet by the administration. As for a copy of the school calendar or curriculum. If they don’t have one available, be sure to explain that you are trying to create your family’s budget for the school year, and they will probably see to it that you get the information you need. After all, schools operate on a very tight budget, too, so they will most likely be very understanding.

The request for money to cover school “extras” is not the problem. If you have to say no to some things, I’m sure you can, but I’m sure you would prefer not to refuse your child anything. School expenses should be a well planned out item in your family budget, just like every other important aspect of your family’s life.

Make a visit to your school today and keep your family budget on track. Don’t wait until your budget is in trouble. That way, maybe tonight you’ll be able to smile a little easier when your child opens up that school backpack!

The household budgeting process is ongoing. I’d like to invite you to visit my site to read more about preparing your family budget as well as tips for sticking to your budget. While you’re there don’t forget to sign up for my free newsletter.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Myers, Susanne "Those Little Extra School Expenses Ruining Your Budget? Plan Ahead!." Those Little Extra School Expenses Ruining Your Budget? Plan Ahead!. 22 Aug. 2010. uberarticles.com. 26 Dec 2014 <http://uberarticles.com/home-and-family/those-little-extra-school-expenses-ruining-your-budget-plan-ahead/>.

APA Style Citation:
Myers, S (2010, August 22). Those Little Extra School Expenses Ruining Your Budget? Plan Ahead!. Retrieved December 26, 2014, from http://uberarticles.com/home-and-family/those-little-extra-school-expenses-ruining-your-budget-plan-ahead/

Chicago Style Citation:
Myers, Susanne "Those Little Extra School Expenses Ruining Your Budget? Plan Ahead!" uberarticles.com. http://uberarticles.com/home-and-family/those-little-extra-school-expenses-ruining-your-budget-plan-ahead/


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