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  10 Steps to Conquering Back to School Spending - pg. 3
by Faye Prosser

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6. Buy Baggy. Not the kind of baggy that makes you want to pull up his pants from his knees and give him a belt, but roomy enough to make the clothes last a little longer. Elastic waistbands, long shirt-tails, and jeans with expandable waists all help to lengthen the amount of time that your children can wear his/her new clothes. Remember you can also turn those too-short pants into shorts and those shirts with the sleeves that are not quite long enough into short-sleeved shirts.

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7. Cash and carry. If you have the tendency to overspend and blow your budget when you are back-to-school shopping, only bring cash. Keep the credit cards at home and don't be talked into opening a store account. If you have a credit card that offers a reward (like cash back or travel miles) AND you pay it off every month, then use that to pay for your purchases in order to earn the additional benefit.

8. Sell to buy. Need a little extra money to finish up that shopping? Try selling those clothes that the little ones have outgrown on,, or your own yard sale. You will be surprised at how many of the old toys your kids may be willing to sell in order to get that new backpack they have wanted.

9. Track your spending. Keep your receipts and tally your purchases each time you shop. In order to stay within your back-to-school budget, you need to know how much you have spent. It is certainly easier if you do all your shopping on one day in one store, but you will absolutely pay more if you take this approach. After you have entered your receipts on your tracking list or Excel spreadsheet, keep the receipts in an envelope so they are easy to access. If you purchased items that are not needed, you will want the receipts to make returns. Keep your budget information for next year so you have a starting point and an idea as to how much you will need to spend. If you stock up at the back-to-school clearance sales this year for next years supplies, you will have a great head start on lowering next years overall budget.

10. Finally, don't give in. No child needs $100 pairs of jeans and $150 pairs of sneakers to wear to middle school, no matter how loudly he/she protests. Help your children to understand the school supply budget and how it relates to the overall family budget. Stand your ground if they want to overspend. The responsible spending habits you instill in them now will benefit them all through their lives.

Once you have accomplished your exciting and action-packed back-to-school shopping mission and your little darlings are heading off to their first day of school, you can sit back and smile. You stayed within budget, spent responsibly and lived to tell about it! When the heat was turned on, you kept your cool, came prepared and conquered back-to-school spending. As I always say - It's your money, spend it wisely!

© Faye Prosser, 2006

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Discuss Back to School Spending

About the Author:
Faye Prosser is the author of "The Smart Spending Guide", December 2005. Her mission is to help others become effective advocates for themselves and their hard-earned money. She teaches people how to budget, reduce debt, and save tremendous amounts of money on groceries and everyday purchases. For more information on "The Smart Spending Guide", the Smart Spending Coupon Organizer or Smart Spending Workshops, visit her website. Magazine on Facebook

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