The idea of back-to-school shopping today frightens me. I remember what it was like when I was in school. There were five students going to school in household and we all had the same amount of money to spend on clothes and supplies. I felt like nothing was cheap then, but now school shopping can be overwhelming to the household budget.
It is interesting though to see how parents handle this task today. Parents might take their student(s) to a thrift store and revel in finding great deals. Other parents may choose to give each student a budget and/or gift cards to purchase what they want. Some students are lucky enough to still have grandparents in their lives who want to spoil their students, just a bit.
I have friends who are preparing for their student to be driving on their own. With this comes added responsibility and expense. The cost of the driver’s education, the vehicle, the insurance (up to two times the cost of a policy without a teenage driver) and the cost of gasoline and maintenance. On one hand, I hear parents talking about their students wanting to contribute to some of these costs. On the other hand, I hear parents of college students bending over backwards for their students to go to the college that their student “wants.” PRO TIP: If you want an expert to evaluate your insurance coverage, contact my colleague Krina Mallgren.
Moms have confided in me that their 20-somethings don’t know how to spend wisely, save or plan for their future. As an aunt and a Godmother, I can somewhat relate. My niece told me last weekend that she wanted another, yes, another, American Girl Doll for her birthday. She’s turning 8 years old this week. Parents generally want their student to have everything they need to be successful AND to what end? Are we overcompensating for the lack of in-person learning over the past 18 months? When do we say “enough?” When do we say, “no?” Or maybe the question is “when do we ask our student what they are willing to do to get what they want?”
As students begin to return to school, I encourage parents to give them an opportunity to learn, practice and be a part of the flow of money in the household. If your student has an allotment of money for school readiness, talk with them about what it could look like if they saved some of the money for a couple of months. How would they feel if they chose to buy a backpack of supplies for another student? Someone works hard for the money, and it can be a blessing. My hope for you and your family is that the money continues to bless not only your students, but students in the upcoming generations through education, practice, and patience.
Want to learn more? Check out a great book written by Rachel Cruz, Smart Money Smart Kids. The book is currently onsite for just $12.99.