9 ways to save when you have a high schooler

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For parents, senior year events, including senior pictures, class trips, prom, and college visits, can have a costly impact on the family budget. Be proactive and modify your budget to make your high schooler’s year special.

BE A BARISTA

Coffee junkies addicted to gourmet lattes five days a week are, at a minimum, losing about $65 a month. Brew your own coffee at home at least two days a week. You will be able to refocus $26 toward your child’s senior year expenses each month.

REFINE CABLE

Cut back on seeing movies in the theater, and save money by waiting until flicks are available On Demand, advises www.dsl.com. Also, check out Hulu or Netflix for blockbusters and eye-awakening documentaries, rather than pay full-price for an expensive cable package.

MAKE A LIST

Get control over your impulse buys. Check prices out online for items that you don’t necessarily need in the moment. You may find that it’s less expensive to purchase toothpaste, deodorant and mascara from Amazon.com than from a brick-and-mortar store.

DISCONNECT THE LAND LINE

Relying on mobile smartphones for every type of communication has become customary. If every member in your family’s equipped with a mobile phone, ditch the land line for extra savings.

GET RID OF BOTTLED WATER

Purchase a re-usable plastic water bottle with a built-in filter to eliminate those large packages of water bottles that fill the fridge. If you’re used to buying a case each week, dropping that expense can lead to a savings of more than $20 a month — plus you’re helping the environment.

CONSERVE ENERGY

Encourage family members to habitually turn off lights, shut down computers, and be aware of how much water they use. Mindful energy conversation practices, such as relying on ceiling fans and reducing AC or lowering hot water temps, add up monetarily. Even if you only cut your energy bill by $10 a month, that’s an extra $90 over the course of your child’s senior year.

MAINTAIN YOUR CAR

Regular oil changes and tire rotations can throw a wrench in that monthly budget. Keep in mind though that regular car maintenance prevents future costly repairs in the long-run.

ASSESS AND PRIORITIZE

Evaluate your expenses and identify expenditures that you can eliminate. If tightening your budget becomes a challenging task, create a list of priorities, starting with your mortgage and bills. You can probably part with items that fall at the bottom of the list. Assess credit card statements and receipts for an honest review of where you’re spending frivolously.

MAKE A PLAN

At the beginning of your child’s senior year, put into writing expected, additional expenses that will have an outstanding effect on the family budget. Divide that number into the nine months that your high schooler will be in school. Then determine a target amount of money you would like to save to meet those financial needs. Tiny weekly or monthly savings can add up and make that senior year stress-free and memorable.

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