Main Content

Blog Top

Youth Budget Busters – And How to Avoid Them

AddToAny buttons

Youth Budget Busters – And How to Avoid Them


Back-to-school shopping is right around the corner. Many parents will read this and cringe in anticipation because back-to-school shopping can be a huge budget buster. But it doesn’t have to be.

This is the sixteenth new school year for the Center for Financial Empowerment, the nonprofit founded by SCE FCU, and we’ve seen the cost traps teens and parents can fall into. We’re happy to share our best tips and tricks to help you save money and maybe some sanity too!

Know before you go Establish a spending limit before you go shopping for new clothes and school supplies – and stick to it. Also, a shopping list is your friend!
Beware of add-ons Don’t fall prey to the double shopping trip disaster. This is when you buy all the bright, shiny new school supplies when they first go on sale… and then spend just as much when you have to go back after the first day of school to get the items from the teacher’s list! You know the teacher is going to send a list of required school supplies. So take it easy on that first trip, and budget accordingly.
Get your kids involved But not the dump-stuff-in-the-shopping-cart kind of involvement. That’s the ultimate budget-buster! Instead give your teen a spending limit and a calculator and let them figure out how to get all the items on the list within the dollar amount given. Offer helpful ideas, if needed, but don’t take over. Let them figure it out.
Take it up a notch If you want to kick your teen’s budgeting/spending lesson into high gear, give them an envelope with their spending limit in cash and let them pay for all the items themselves. If  they manage to get everything from the list with money left over, they can keep it!

Back-to-school shopping doesn’t have to be stressful. With a little planning it can be a great learning experience and a way for your kids to practice smart spending skills.

Help us empower the next generation for financial success! 
The Center for Financial Empowerment is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower disadvantaged youth through financial literacy education. Find out more about our work at