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Back to School

Record high temperatures, crowded beaches, ocean temperatures reaching 88 degrees, and restless kids all mean it is back-to-school season in Florida! The conversations in my house recently have been focused around which teachers they hope to get and when we get to go back to school shopping. My daughter, Ryann, loves helping me organize the three back-to-school lists and going supply shopping. The schools recently provided a way to buy supplies online and deliver them. Despite the fact it would save me hours, it would also devastate Ryann and ruin our back-to-school tradition.

According to the 2023 Deloitte back-to-school survey, parents are expected to spend $597 per child.

Back-to-school shopping is typically the second largest spending event for families, after the holiday season.

As you can imagine, this can lead to a large amount of financial stress for families. Here are some tricks to save money on your back-to-school budget:

Make a list a stick to it! 

Don’t get lured by the “deals” and buy things that you don’t need.

Use supplies from last year.

Look in your child’s backpack that has been sitting in their closet since the last day of school! I can guarantee that there are pencils, pens, glue sticks, and erasers in their pencil box that still have a lot of life left. You may even have a pile of “extra” supplies you bought last year that were never used. Take inventory around your house before going and buying everything new.

Shop on tax-free weekends.

Florida’s Department of Revenue has set July 24 through August 14 as the 2023-2024 Back to School tax-free holiday. Consumers can purchase most school supplies selling for $50 or less; clothing, footwear, and accessories selling for $100 or less; and computers and related accessories selling for $1,500 exempt from the 7% Florida sales tax. If you spend $597 on your child, the tax-exempt purchases will save you $41.79!

Shop without your kids!

My daughter only attends our annual back-to-school supply shopping trip, with strict guidelines that we only purchase what is on the list (back to tip #1).  If I bring my other kids, they will hound me to purchase other items they “just have to have.” Another lesson to come on needs vs wants.

Many families will need help to afford supplies for their children. We are blessed to live in a philanthropically inclined community and organizations collecting supplies so all kids can be excited about a new backpack filled with supplies. God calls us to be generous.

Deuteronomy 15:11 “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.”

If you want to put a smile on a child’s face and make a charitable contribution to help with back-to-school needs, here are some organizations collecting supplies or donations:

Kiwanis Stuff the Bus 
Children’s Home Society
Polk County Sheriff’s Office

May you enjoy the remaining days of your summer and embrace the new season that is upon us! Ready or not, back to school, they will go!

August 2023

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