This article was last edited on Aug. 21, 2012.
Between getting the kids back into the school routine, packing lunches and scheduling after-school activities, back to school time can be stressful around most households. Not to mention, the cost of the kids going back to school seems to be increasing. From clothes to gear to school supplies, it seems that we are spending a fortune. Here are a few tips to help you cut down on some of the costs when your kids are going back to school:
Start Your Shopping At Home
Before you go out to buy anything, start in your own closets first. Throughout the year you may have accumulated some treasures like pens and pencils, or even unworn clothes.
Make A List And Set Limits
After looking through your things at home, take inventory of what you will need when heading to the store. When you head to the store, stick to your list and set a limit on how much you want to spend. By setting a limit, you will be able to know if you can grant your child’s request for non-essential items or if you need to put those request off until later.
Shopping online is a great way to compare both products and prices. Doing your shopping online can also cut down on the hassle of having to drive to multiple stores to find everything you may need.
Buy Quality Items
When looking for school supplies and gear, look for items that are well made and that look like they are going to last. When looking for backpacks, try to choose a book bag that has great quality, or a life-time warranty. Try to choose a book bag that your child may want to use for multiple years, not the trendy bag that they will only like this school year. You may have to spend more for these items, but if they last then they can be used for multiple years. This means you will be able to save money in the long run.
Day Care/ After School Care Tax Deduction
If your child goes to day care or after school care while you work or look for work, you may be able to claim a credit for their expenses. The Child Dependent Care Tax Credit allows you to claim $3,000 in dependent care expenses for one qualifying child and $6,000 for two or more qualifying persons. In order to claim the credit, you must have a qualifying child and child care provider. A qualifying child is a child under the age of 13, or if they are 13 or older they must be physically or mentally unable to care for him or herself. In order to be considered a qualified childcare provider, the care provider must be over 19 years old and cannot be one of your dependents. They must provide you with their name, business name if applicable, address, and either Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number. All of this information must be reported on Form 2441, in order for you to claim the Child Dependent Care Tax Credit.