Back to School 2020 – With a Budget

The start of the new school year is here. The excitement of new adventures can also be a time of extra expenses.  Like most things in the world these days, the 2020 back-to-school season is anything but normal. The pandemic is changing the way Americans shop for Back to School.  Purchasing classroom essentials not only looks different, but also requires spending more money.  Whether your kids are going back to school in the classroom or around your kitchen table—you need a back-to-school budget.

What does Back to School spending look like this year?

The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual Back-to-School Spending Survey says that consumers expect to spend a record amount of money to prepare students for school and college this year.  This is due largely in part to distance learning plans in place across the country as the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continues to rise.

According to the NRF, households with kids in grades K-12 are expected to spend $789.49 per family for the 2020-2021 school year.  Additionally, 63 percent of K-12 families expect to buy computers and other electronics this year, up from 54 percent last year, and they expect to spend more at an average $274.44, up from $203.44 last year. 

With K-12 students continuing to grow regardless of whether they are studying at home or at school, the amount parents plan to spend on clothing is down only slightly at an average $234.48, compared with $239.82 last year. Traditional school supplies such as pencils and paper are expected to average $131.37, up from $117.49.

How can you budget your money when Back to School shopping this year?

Here are some tips and tricks for how you can budget your money:

  •  Shop for the short term

Whether you’re spending less this year out of necessity or you’re anticipating having to spend more, buy only what you need. If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the best made plans can quickly change. So purchase what you need to get the school year started and plan to supplement those purchases as the semester unfolds. You may find that some items get less expensive as the seasons change.

  • Stick With What You Already Have

Classroom lists don’t change much over the years. Regardless of what grade your child is entering they likely need pencils, paper, rulers, erasers and so on.  Check last year’s supply in your own closet. If you can reuse something you already have, do it!

  •  Pay with cash

Set a budget and make a list of the essentials you will need for the first few weeks. Pay for those pencils, books and other less costly items with cash.  Avoid impulse purchases and stick to your budget. Save the more expensive items such as laptop computers for credit card purchases.

  • Take advantage of credit card rewards

More than half of parents who will back-to-school shop this year plan to use a credit card on those purchases, according to the NRF survey. Putting your expenses on a cash-back credit card could put your money to work for you. You may even get enough back to cover some of next year’s back-to-school expenses. Just make sure you’re able to pay off the balance each cycle, as interest can quickly take away from any benefits.

  • Check prices before and after shopping

Price matching involves comparing identical items at other stores and asking a retailer to match a lower price. The trick may not make sense for a package of pencils, but for clothing, electronics and other higher-dollar items, a successful price match could save you lots of money.

  •  Coupons and more coupons!

Why pay full price? Save money by taking just a few extra minutes to find deals on back-to-school items.  Check your local newspaper or wait until your favorite store has the items on sale.  Stock up on buy-one-get-one free products. Don’t forget to look at online coupons too. You can go to manufacturer’s websites or browse specific coupon sources for a wide range of deals.

  •  Look for Refurbished gadgets  

It’s no wonder back-to-school spending is up — kids need their own devices if they will be doing video calls from home.  However, you can save hundreds of dollars on a like-new computer for your kids by purchasing a refurbished model. Just make sure you buy from a certified seller.  EBay often has great options from Acer, Dell Outlet and more and they come with 90-day warranty, 30-day returns and are backed by eBay’s Money Back Guarantee.  

  •  Bank from Anywhere

Now banking is easier than ever. Bank right from your tablet or cell phone with our Mobile Banking. This fast, simple, secure service means you can put your bank in your pocket and take it with you – anywhere you go.

This school year will be unlike any other, which means parents and children will have to get more creative with stretching their back-to-school budgets.  With the proper planning and budgeting strategy, you can still get everything you need for the school year!

Contact Jarrettsville Federal Bank at 410 – 692- 5151 or visit our website at  We want to support you with any of your banking needs.