It's Back to School Time

 -By Toni, Senior Teller 

The back to school season is once again upon us.  Why does it seem to sneak up on us…every single year?

So each year we try to figure out how we can afford to buy all the supplies the kids are required to have, plus clothes that fit them.  I have a few ideas to help with that!

When I was growing up, my Mom gave me a budget of $100 to spend on clothes in whatever way I chose, within the dress code, of course.  I learned pretty fast about shopping sales.  Do I want two items for $50 each, or do I want to get more for my money by shopping for less expensive items?  I almost always went for more clothes.  I highly suggest doing this with your children for two reasons.  The first is that it will teach them the value of money and that you don’t have an endless supply.  When they have to decide what items fit in their budget, it helps them understand how to make a budget work for them.  I am glad my parents taught me about making choices while still staying within my budget.  The other reason is to keep yourself on your budget and not to overspend.  It’s really easy to get excited about things and just say to yourself “Well, I’ll just make it work,” instead of keeping yourself on track.

As for school supplies, I shop early and often.  The sales usually start mid-July at Staples and Office Depot.  I usually go every Sunday when the new sale starts and only buy what the special deals are for that week (that would explain the multiple trips).  For example: 12 pack of Crayola Colored Pencils for .97¢, 24 pack of Crayola Crayons for .25¢, composition books for .50¢, pack of No. 2 pencils for $1, pack of mechanical pencils for $1, pack of index cards for .50¢, rulers .25¢, spiral notebooks for .17¢, folders for .10¢…the list could go on.  I usually take the supply list and guesstimate what I have paid for the items in years past so I have a pretty good idea of how much I am looking to spend this year.  Now that my daughter is in Middle School, they have the supply list of what is needed and it also lists what they sell in the bookstore and for how much so I can compare prices.  Also, this year Staples did something new where they have a “Less List” in which they have many of the major items needed for school on sale all season long instead of putting a few items on sale each week.  That definitely saved time and money and made this Momma really happy!

So I know you are asking “But Toni, how am I supposed to afford all this?” To which I reply…”Have you heard about our Summer Club Account?”  With the Summer Club Account, you have as little as $5 and up to $1000 automatically deposited to the account each month from one of your existing accounts.  On June 1st, the money will be transferred to your savings account and is ready for you to afford the supplies and clothes, and it also comes early enough to be able to catch the good sales!  You might even have enough left over to help with your summer vacation!  You choose the day and the amount to be transferred, and the money starts to add up for you.  You can open the Summer Club at any time by talking to one of our lovely Member Service Representatives.

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