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Important Steps to Take Control of Your Financial Wellbeing Ahead of the School Year

Important Steps to Take Control of Your Financial Wellbeing Ahead of the School Year Blog image
Free Tools For Understanding Finances Affinity FCU Blog
By: Shawn Lubitz
Vice President, Retail and Digital Branches

August 18, 2023

The return of the school year marks a fresh start for many families, as they return from summer fun and settle back into their familiar routines. It is also a great time to review family finances and ensure your family’s perspective on financial wellbeing is aligned..

Financial wellbeing serves as the bedrock for a family's overall stability and peace of mind. By fostering sound financial practices as a family unit, you not only protect your family now but also cultivate a legacy of financial literacy, equipping future generations with the tools to make informed decisions and thrive in an ever-evolving economic landscape.

Here are six areas families should explore and discuss heading into the new school year.

  1. Review your family’s budget and incorporate new expenses. Every great financial strategy starts with a budget. Review and write down all foreseeable school-related expenses, from tuition fees to extracurricular activities, as well as anticipated outside expenses, including birthday parties or other social events. Use these items to adjust (or create) a monthly budget that best reflects your anticipated spending and family needs to ensure everything is well accounted for.
  2. Keep your budget in check - and check it often. A budget is meaningless without regular monitoring of your spending habits. There are plenty of online apps and tools - including those offered by Affinity 1- that can help you oversee and categorize your spending. This insight aids in identifying potential savings avenues and curbing unwarranted expenditures.
  3. Seek out ways to save on supplies. While the busy back-to-school shopping season starts in early August, many families are still rounding out school shopping lists well into September. Before you head out to purchase new items, take a moment to assess what you already own. Often, many supplies from the previous year, like backpacks or binders, remain in usable condition. For larger expenses, consider bulk purchases or splitting the cost with other families to increase savings.
  4. Include your children in important financial decisions and discussions. Imparting financial wisdom starts at home, that includes evaluating needs versus wants. Engage your children in the shopping process, teaching them to discern between essentials and desires. This lesson instills prudent financial habits for their future.
  5. Consider how you will save for the future. While this school year’s needs are top of mind, it is also a good time to consider future educational expenses, as well. Initiating a dedicated savings account or investing in a 529 Plan can mitigate these future financial burdens. Remember, every little bit counts and compounds over time.
  6. Check in on your emergency funds. Life's unpredictability necessitates an emergency fund. Whether it's an impromptu school event or a technology mishap, these unforeseen expenses can derail a budget. However, with a well-funded safety net, you can navigate these surprises with ease.

By adopting these actionable strategies, you empower yourself - and your family - with the tools to navigate the academic year with fiscal confidence. Every step, no matter how small, is a stride towards a more secure financial future. Our team is here to support in creating or managing a budget, provide financial education tools and more. Contact us today! 2

This information is for informational purposes only, is intended to provide general guidance, and does not constitute legal, tax, or financial advice. Each person’s circumstances are different and may not apply to the specific information provided. You should seek the advice of a financial professional, tax consultant, and/or legal counsel to discuss your specific needs before making any financial or other commitments regarding the matters related to your condition.