The average family is expected to spend at least 500-dollars on school supplies this month, adding up nationwide to be a 17-billion dollar expenditure. Karen Atwood, C-E-O of Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Northeastern Iowa, says smart parents will take an honest look at their income and use common-sense when creating a back-to-school budget.
Atwood says “Make a list, not only of what the kids need now, but what they anticipate they’re going to need between now and Christmas and see if the amount they spend this month on school can be a little less, holding back so that in October and November, they can spend a little bit more on the same sort of items.” She says Iowa families are feeling a more painful pinch on back-to-school costs this year because of ever-rising gasoline prices.
Atwood says “People have been hurting because of the amount they’re spending on gas for some time. It went from being a cash item to a credit card item and now all those credit card balances are getting high. Even the amount left to put the school supplies on the credit card is being less. It’s really hurting significantly this month.”
Atwood says parents need to make a budget for what their kids will need and then stick to it. She says to set a plan for how much you need to spend and for which items are needed and what items can be put off and then stick to that plan to avoid overspending. “Discipline is the key which will help you reach your goals and keep you in line.”
Atwood’s agency is based in Waterloo and has offices in Dubuque, Marshalltown, Grinnell, Mason City, Forest City, Ames and Decorah. For more information, surf to “www.cccsia.org”.