How to Invest in Your Child This School Year

Education is an investment, and when kids begin school, costs can add up. To help you plan, prepare and save, we’ve broken down tips on how you can best invest in your child’s education — to set your family up for success both financially and emotionally.
Phase 1: Before the School Year Begins
Use a shopping list. Consider school shopping like grocery shopping. When you peruse the aisles at a supermarket, you save money and time if you know exactly what you’re going to get, especially if you have a list in front of you. Often, students must have specific items depending on what grade they’re in, so teachers will provide a list of what each child needs for the coming year. Use the provided list, and you’re less likely to spend money on items your kids don’t need and won’t end up using.
Purchase reusable items. Backpacks, lunch boxes and pencil cases can last for more than just this school year. Save your resources — and the planet — by reusing.
Buy in bulk. If you have multiple kids and not enough time to shop, think about buying in bulk. Stores such as Costco Wholesale and Sam’s Club offer hard-to-beat deals for back-to-school necessities. Bulk shopping is often cheaper in the long run, and it can save you time in the future.
Shop online. Summers are busy, especially if your kids are involved in sports or other extracurricular activities. If time is running out to shop for what they need, online stores offer convenience and often more choice. Check about shipping options; you might be eligible for free, fast shipping.  
Phase 2: During the School Year
Talk about school. It sounds simple, but asking your kids how their day went and what they’re learning helps you connect with them and understand the ups and downs of their educational experience.
See how you can help. Whether it’s helping your kid with long division or attending school board meetings, parent involvement can be an essential part of any child’s education. You are your child’s biggest advocate, and you can make a difference on their behalf.
Look into extracurricular activities. If your child is interested in pursuing interests outside of school, see what’s available for them — and what’s doable for you financially. Extracurricular activities can aid in a well-rounded learning experience, and they might even impact college applications someday.
Phase 3: After the School Year Ends
Continue the learning. It’s hard to retain what you learn when you’re away from school for three months. Help your kids hone their critical thinking and problem-solving skills with games and activities — and maybe even a workbook or two if they’re up for it.
Help them recharge. In order to maximize what your child learns during the school year, it’s important for them to be ready to learn when the fall rolls around. By helping them recharge during the summer, you will set them up for success and ensure they’re ready to learn even more.
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