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Being a parent is always expensive. Simply housing and feeding kids cost a lot of money. With school fees on top of that, many parents struggle to make ends meet. This time of year is particularly stressful, as the yearly back-to-school costs need to be taken care of.
In 2022, things are even more difficult than normal. Record levels of inflation have left the average American scrambling to pay for basic necessities. People are already playing catch up and are not in the best financial condition to pay for school supplies.
There is no way to avoid the expense of sending your kids back to school. However, you can soften the blow with certain strategies. We will discuss how to buy now, pay later (BNPL) is a type of short-term financing that can provide immediate relief. We’ll also get into some of the ways to lower the amount you spend on supplies.
Here’s how to deal with back-to-school costs in 2022.
Use Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)
BNPL is nothing new. The option has been presented to you by certain companies for years. However, many people are choosing to use this option to deal with this year’s high expenses.
BNPL is an option facilitated by providers like Affirm, Afterpay, and Klarna. At their partner stores, you can choose to pay a small amount now and the rest at a later point. You will need to fill out a quick form, after which your application is approved or denied instantaneously.
Since this is a type of financing, the company will do a soft credit check which should not impact your credit score. If you know you have a decent credit score, you will not face any issues when using this method at checkout.
BNPL is available at a number of stores that provide back-to-school supplies. If you want to avoid the hassle at the till, you can choose it when you pay online on sites like Amazon.
Buy Off-Brand Supplies
As a parent, you want your children to have all of the best things. This is why many parents choose to pay more for branded supplies, especially those which other kids at school may notice. However, in 2022 you have all the justification you need to switch to off-brand or generic supplies.
Off-brand back-to-school supplies are generally exactly the same as their branded counterparts. You’re unlikely to lose out too much on quality. If you’re shopping online, you can look at reviews to see which items are good enough to last the year.
Leave Your Kids At Home
When you’re shopping for back-to-school supplies, you should have a list of exactly what your children need. Impulse-buying is not a problem for you in this case. However, if you take your kids with you, you’ll find yourself pressured to spend on things that are completely unnecessary. They will see a lot of products marketed to them (both in the moment at the store and through adverts on TV and YouTube) and will make it as hard as possible for you to say no.
It is natural to want to take your kids with you to do their back-to-school shopping. But the reality is that you will spend less if you go on your own. Before you go, ask if they have any specific items they think they need. That way, you give them some agency without putting yourself at their mercy.
Look For Coupons
To reduce the amount you spend on necessary products, you can look for coupons online. Many companies offer coupons if you give them your details, essentially giving you discounts in exchange for the ability to market to you more directly.
There may be many more coupons and discount codes available that are not as easy to find. For this, you can use a browser extension like Honey. Honey scours the web for coupons and applies them when you check out. You can save significant money just with the discounts you find.
Get a Side Hustle
Of course, a side hustle is always a good idea, even if you are already making ends meet. There are many ways to earn passive income that will get you into the best possible financial position. You have to be willing to invest some time to get your side hustle set up, but you can start making a regular income without too much work.
It is harder than ever to afford back-to-school supplies in 2022. However, they’re also as non-negotiable as ever. Use the above techniques to save money and fit your kids’ back-to-school supplies into your budget.