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How to Stop Back-to-School Debt in July

Most parents can testify to the stress of back-to-school shopping. And if you put your shopping off until the last weeks or days before the school year begins, the stress can be even worse. You can end up paying more than you’d like for some items, buying more than you need, or just overspending in general — all of which can lead to debt.

The household average for back-to-school spending in 2017 was expected to be more than $800, which means there’s a very good chance that number will be even higher this year.

If you don’t have hundreds of dollars set aside for your kids’ school expenses, that can mean a lot of consumer debt you weren’t expecting — and a big bump to your current debt load that could carry on well into the fall or even winter months.

This podcast episode is about minimizing costs and avoiding back-to-school debt. We look at four ways to beat the debt (and the stress!) by creating a debt-busting plan, using strategies to avoid debt and overspending, using money saving options, and including your kids in the budgeting and spending decisions.

One of the best strategies for avoiding back-to-school debt is to start planning early. July is an ideal time to start searching for deals and making purchases to help spread out your costs.

Jayson Stoppel, Senior Vice-President and Licensed Insolvency Trustee from our Thunder Bay office, has some tips for cash-strapped parents who want to skip the additional debt and keep costs down.

Here are a few more ideas for how to use July as your springboard to back-to-school shopping.

Think of July through October as your back-to-school season

Start flipping through flyers now. Retailers already have the shelves stocked with back-to-school basics, and online retailers have year-round availability of even your most unusual items.

If you start early, you can spread out the costs of supplies, clothes and tech to decrease your monthly costs. That can help you pay for things with cash, or keep your credit card charges low and more manageable to pay off each month.

But don’t just think about July — back-to-school season doesn’t need to stop on September 1st.

Many items can be put off until September, October, November or even December. As summer clothes and shoes go on sale, you can be stocking up on basics like t-shirts, gym shorts, sneakers for sports, and even sports equipment for the following spring season. And as quickly as the fall fashions hit the shelves, winter ones will follow, so make it a habit to shop late for clothes, not early.

Some items like bikes and computers and printers are even more likely to be on sale in the fall months.

Starting early means you can do your best planning. Check out the blog from My Money Coach for tips on how to plan ahead and cut your costs.

Bottom line: making July the beginning of a longer back-to-school shopping season can help you avoid debt. Spread your costs and your efforts out across the summer and fall months to maximize savings and decrease your debt load.

What back-to-school shopping strategies help you avoid debt? Tell us on Twitter. #BacktoSchool #DebtSolutions #FamilyFinances

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