Yes, they happen. The last minute school projects, the toys they just have to get even though its 10 months away from Christmas, the back to school wardrobe. When it comes to these expenses, there are several ways to manage them. But most of them involve following your own best advice.
Plan ahead. Over the summer you will see project items like poster boards, markers, glue sticks and such on clearance. Pick up a few extra poster boards for a nickel a piece or that $1 marker set in the sale bin. By putting these things away, you will be prepared for the emergency project that your child didnt find out about until the day before it was due! And all without a 9 PM trip out in the rain to find an open supermarket that sells them! The same is true for school supplies. Pick up pencils, notebooks and filler paper 50-75% off in late fall and put it away for the following year. Youll be glad you planned ahead!
Hold back. When it comes to toys, I am probably the worst. I buy everything! And while I say this, other guilty parents everywhere are blushing. But by setting sensible rules for yourself you can break this habit that is bad for not only your wallet but for your child as well. Tell yourself the same thing you tell your child, One item only. $10 or less. And stick to it. Make it a scavenger hunt for the best toy within your spending limit. For those of you who need the extra help leave your wallet in the car. Take only that ten-dollar bill in, and thats all youll spend!
Make a list. If your child is perpetually asking for toys that they then never play with, have them keep a list of things they would like for special events such as holidays and birthdays, or when you feel they deserve something special. When it's time to buy them something, have them look over the list to see what they still want, you'll be amazed at what doesn't appeal to them any longer!
Stick to the basics. When it comes to back to school clothes, stay away
from matched set outfits. WHAT?! Yes, you read that right.
Although matched sets are the staple of childrens clothes and certainly
easy to buy, they are increasingly expensive. But the best way to save
on childrens clothes is to buy the basics. A few nice pieces can
be mixed and matched to make several different outfits and save a lot
of money in the long run.
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