First, you have to check if you qualify for free supplies with “Need Help Paying Bills” if you are struggling to meet your children’s school supplies demands. This will go a long way to help you pay your child’s tuition fees. Paying Back-to-School Expenses with No Money – Full Time Bills has been explained in this article.
There’s survey written in mid-July by U.S. News World Report which shows that more than three-quarters of American citizens (about 77 percent) find it difficult to pay for back-to-school expenses. Many of them are moderately or too worried about being able to foot their bills. Furthermore, those who are a bit worried, and the total who are completely concerned increases to nearly an surprising 96 percent.
More precisely, for the 12-month period which will by closing in June, inflation rose about 9.1%. As a matter of fact, this is the biggest 1year increase since the end of November 1981. This has ultimately affected the system and creates a much more expensive school year. Now, with these high prices of education, it’s not surprising most people living in the US are worried about affording school fees and other class expenses.
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How Much Are People in America Spending to Send Their Kids to School?
For the cause of today’s topic, the survey below focused on back-to-school expenses for kids in kindergarten through high/secondary school. The random survey respondents were asked how much they expect to spend on school expenses for each of their ward. After the survey reports were collected, only 15.7% expect to spend $100 or less per child. While on the other hand, more than 1 out of 5 persons say they’ll be spending more than $300-400 per child.
This is ere’s the breakdown by cost below:
- $0-$100: 15.7%.
- $101-$200: 26.3%.
- $201-$300: 24%.
- $301-$400: 12.8%.
- $401-$500: 10.1%.
- More than $500: 11.1%.
Please note that that these amounts & percentage are per child. Beside, a family with 3 children or more who expects to be paying about $300-400 for the school year would total about $1,000 to $1,200 per term. You will agree that the figure above is a huge expense for most families in the United States.
How Residents of the US Plan to Save on Expenses
After the Corona Virus lockdown, there has been an inflation in every sector. Because of this inflation, nearly 2/3rd of people plan to spend less this year on general merchandise and supplies. Another survey asked respondents what strategies they plan to use to cut costs in general. From their responses, most of them intend to use a combination of approaches. If you ask me, it is a good way to find the best deals.
Here are the findings:
- Are you looking for sales: 82.3%.
- Will you be shopping at different stores: 56.2%.
- Start buying secondhand products: 31.9%.
- Can you wait for a sales tax holiday: 29.9%.
- Apply and use a store credit card for exclusive sales: 23.1%.
- Begin using a credit card and carrying a balance: 20.4%.
- Try applying credit card rewards: 17.4%.
- Anything or Something else: 6.7%.
Looking at the responses above, almost 42% of survey respondents say they’ll shop at brick-and-mortar stores. While 21% of people said they’ll shop exclusively online. Almost 38% say they’ll shop both in person and online. The comparison is wide apart.
The 2 Risky Strategies Respondents Are Considering
In the survey, respondents were asked if they were planning to use one of these methods to pay for bills: Buy now, pay later payment plans or retail credit cards that offer deferred interest payment plans.
1. Buy Now, Pay Later Plans (BNPL)
The buy now pay later (BNPL) payment plans are a type of short-term financing that allows consumers to pay the bill later in installment payments. It is also known as the ‘pay small-small option’. Most of these plans are generally advertised with zero fees and monthly interest-free. Let me ask; if you see a chance to postpone the full payment and pay zero interest, will you think it to be a great opportunity? It will be ‘yes; for some people and ‘no’ for others.
Going by the responses of the respondents, nearly 48% say they might or definitely will use a ‘buy now, play later (BNPL) plan as a payment option. However, if complete your payment as agreed, you should be fine. But if you miss a payment on the other hand, your interest-free deal might turn into a worse situation in the long run. It would have been better if you just used your credit card to start with.
Trust me, you will get into debt increases if you’re juggling multiple BNPL plans at the same time. It a bad opportunity. Note that this strategy will make it difficult to keep track of what you owe, whom you owe and when you owe it. If you must use the BNPL option, make sure you have a solid plan for repayment.
2. Retail Credit Cards Offering a Deferred Interest Payment Plan
In the survey that was done, almost 51% of respondents say they might or would use a retail or store credit card with a carry over interest plan. In the US, stores with expensive products, such as furniture or appliances, sometimes offer carry-over-interest financing via the store’s credit card. Many a times, this isn’t a good strategy at all.
This explanation is the reason why: Let’s say for instance, you need to expend $3,500 on high-tech equipment for one of your child. Now, the store selling it is offering you a 12-month carry-over-interest plan on your store credit card. in a nutshell, this means you won’t have to pay any interest on the $3,500 until the 12-month period finishes.
What is the tricky part of this explanation? If you fail to pay the complete money in full before the 12-month period ends, depending on the plan, it could attract more payment. That is; you could be required to pay all of the carry-over interest on the initial purchase amount. Therefore, if you have a $1,500 balance after the 1 year and the new interest rate is 15%, you’d pay 15% interest on the original $3,500 amount. The day of the interest clock goes back to the purchase date of 1 year ago.
In addition, if miss a payment date (you’re very late with a payment), it could close your 0% interest rate entitlement. A carry-over-interest option is only a good idea if you’re solidly sure you can repay it off before the 0% interest period expires. Its also great if you make timely payments. But believe me when I tell you that there are much better credit card strategies for reducing costs to the minimal.
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New Ways to Use Credit Cards to Decrease School Expenses
Even though I personally do not advise people to jump into deferred-interest plans with credit cards, there are other ways to use credit cards to mitigate inflation.
1. Use a Credit Card With a 0% Purchase APR (Annual Percentage Rate)
In the US, credit cards have annual percentage rates for different types of transactions purposes. In explanation, a 0% introductory APR on purchases means that, for a specific time frame, you don’t have to pay any interest if you carry a balance.
In fact, this is one of those credit card strategies that allows its customers to get an interest-free loan if payments is completed as agreed. Presently, these 0% purchase APR offers range from 12 to 20 months grace. That is to say, if you have an urgent need to buy a pricey item like a personal computer for example, you can pay it off over a 12 month or more and pay zero percent interest.
In the light of this, you have to pay monthly as thats the requirement. Also, you should try your best to pay off the balance before the intro period expires. But if you don’t, the 0% APR will rise up to what will be your regular purchase Annual Percentage Rate. Think properly before choosing this strategy. And don’t do this unless you’re pretty sure you can pay off the balance during the introductory period.
Several survey reports shows that a majority, (52.3%), say they don’t plan to use a 0% intro APR credit card. Hopefully, this is a cost-cutting strategy you can consider if your situation agrees with it.
2. Earn a Credit Card Sign-up Bonus
Bonuses are great, so if you need a new credit card, look for one that has the rewards you need plus a welcome offer too. However, these offers usually have a spending requirement (usually for first 3months) and a deadline to meet the requirement. Bonuses for example, you could earn $250 by spending $1,500 within 90 days of opening your account. Note that the amount you can earn as a cardholder and the requirement to earn it vary a lot by card issuer.
Most credit card companies allow you to redeem the bonus as a statement credit. So what happens all those school expenses you paid for 2 months ago? Ultimately, you can completely clear out some of that debt with your sign-up bonus cash. If you seriously want to use this strategy as an advantage, then use the new card for other school expenses. You’ll earn the sign-up bonus plus rewards that you can also redeem as a statement credit. This is a win-win, right?
3. Cellphone Insurance and Other Valuable Credit Card Benefits
Do not throw away the letter attached your card when you receive it. Carefully read through the fine print on your credit card. Trust me, you may be very surprised by the benefits you’ll may discover. Your older kids need smartphones. There are some credit cards companies that offer cellphone insurance or savings on repairs. Some others offer price protection, which gives cardholders a refund if they find an item they bought at a lower price elsewhere.
You can still benefit more if your credit card issuer offers an online shopping mall. Check it well enough, you may also uncover discounts there. You can save on back-to-school uniforms and other school wears, tech items etc. It takes some time to achieve, but the possibility of saving a lump sum should be a good motivator.
What to Do If You Can’t Afford School Expenses
The survey shows that almost 37% will have to cut costs somewhere in their budgets to cover school expenses. And 19.3% say they don’t know how they can possibly afford back-to-school expenses this year.
If you can’t afford to pay retail prices, it doesn’t mean you have to send your kid to school without a backpack. Check out Need Help Paying Bills to see if you qualify for free supplies. Even if you don’t, this website is a great resource for finding less expensive school supplies. You’ll also find resources to help you pay for clothes your kid will need for the coming school year.
And don’t forget to look for help from local religious organizations, charities, and state and federal programs, such as the free or reduced-rate school lunches.
If you’d like to help less fortunate families get school supplies, you can support a school supply drive. Get details from the Kids In Need Foundation.