Store aisles are a rainbow of crayon boxes, watercolor paints and glue sticks. That can only mean one thing—it's back-to-school season.
Before sending your kids back to school, or heading there yourself, take time for a quick refresher on the financial side of education.
1. Parents will likely pay a bit more this year. The National Retail Federation (NRF) anticipates that 2023 will be the most expensive back-to-school shopping season ever. The average K-12 parent's spending per student, for everything from new clothes to notebooks, is expected to be over $890, a record high and $25 more than last year's average, according to the NRF.
Back-to-college spending is also at record levels. College students and their families are expected to spend an average of $1,366.95 per student, compared to $1,199.43 last year, the NRF found.
What's eating into parents' wallets most? For K-12 students, it's spending on back-to-school electronics such as computers, while for college students it's also big-ticket purchases such as computers and dorm furnishings.
2. It's never too early to think about saving, even if your child is just heading off to kindergarten. Have you already set up a 529 educational savings plan for your child or grandchild? Great! But if it's been out of sight and out of mind, it might be time to check in on your education savings plan.
If you've got a child with their sights set on college in the next few years, you're probably already thinking about the budgeting of it all. If you need some help navigating the college conundrum and breaking down the numbers, this one is for you.
3. It's a good time to talk to your kids about money. Education is never wasted. And not all education happens in a classroom. Whether your kids are elementary school age or higher education bound, it's important to educate them about money and finances.
And it's not just the kids. Did you pick up personal finance tools in school? Maybe. Could you use a refresher? Definitely. In a recent survey, over half of respondents aged 40 and older characterized their financial awareness journey as somewhere between "clueless" and "needing improvement."
If you fall somewhere in that range, check out these financial education resources for yourself or to set the stage for your family's future.