We’re already a few days into August, and if you haven’t written out your monthly budget, there’s still time before the month really gets away from you. Sit down and take about 20 minutes and put it on paper (or in a spreadsheet), and then rest easy while you finish out the month with confidence that everything is planned for.
As you’re writing everything down, don’t forget these items in your August budget!
- School supplies. You probably have pencils and crayons already budgeted for. But does your student need a new backpack? Mine surprised me at the store with that little nugget, and of course the backpack she wants is in the $40-50 range. Take a look and know what all they need before you hit the stores. Gym shorts? Headphones for computer class? (Also, be sure to check out my school supply shopping tips post.)
- Camping or vacation supplies. While some areas of the country have already gone back to school, here in the northwest we’re enjoying our last month of summer vacation before school starts. That might mean a camping trip or a trip to the beach, or maybe just a visit to the grandparents’ house. Whatever it is, make sure you’ve got gear, toys, appropriate clothing, sunscreen and bug spray covered.
- Spending money. Are you taking that trip in #2? If there’s an opportunity for shopping (souvenirs, a kite to fly on the beach, etc.), make sure you’ve got the funds earmarked so you don’t run over budget. I haven’t let my kids know there’s a candy shop in the beach town we’ll be visiting, and I’m hoping they don’t figure it out – but if they do, I’ll be prepared.
- Sports/Activities fees and equipment. Need a new set of goggles for the swim team, or will you be asked to fund a uniform? What about new cleats? Sports are rarely free, so make sure you’re planning for any participation or registration fees. Is this the year your budding musician will join band? How much will it cost to rent or purchase an instrument? Start doing some research and plan ahead.
- Lunch money. If your kids are rolling through that hot lunch line instead of bringing lunch from home (or if they’re like my teenage nephews and they eat their packed lunch all morning before lunch, then buy one at school and eat the whole thing – no joke!), then plan for funding that lunch account.
- Christmas fund. Yes, I mentioned it in July, but if you haven’t started it yet, you’ve only got (gulp) five months to the holidays, counting this month. Think ahead – you’ll be happy you did.
- Birthday parties. So we budget for birthday gifts each month, but do you have to put on a birthday party in the next couple of months? Party rental fees can add up. Ask now what your kids want to do, or make suggestions, and go from there. Just remember that it’s easier to spread it out over a couple of months.
Have a great August!