She said first things first: Create a budget and trim the fat on other expenses, like TV subscriptions.
“If you have Hulu or Disney+, cancel and that’s going to free up 40 bucks right there,” Cruze said. “See if there is any amount of margin that we can do to make short-term sacrifices to be able to fund what we need to in the moment.”
The school supply list might be a mile long. Cruze said to tackle the needs first.
“Just get the needs, not all the wants,“ Cruze said. Some of those things on the list are wants and you can find really inexpensive things depending on where you shop.”
Cruze suggested hitting up dollar stores for items like loose leaf paper, pens and notebooks. Check Target’s Bullseye section for deals and consider buying prepared supply boxes to save money and your sanity.
Go through closets to see what still fits and what hand-me-downs will work or consider buying used items. Check that budget and decide what you can and can’t afford on the after-school activity front. Limit extracurricular activities and you’ll save time and money.
This year’s back-to-school shopping is also a lesson for parents about inflation.
“If you are someone who says I cannot buy everything on the list, you are not a bad parent,” Cruze said. “You’re still providing a life. You’re still loving your children. This does not define who you are as a parent first and foremost and our money can be our identity very easily in this culture and I don’t want it to be.”