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By Robert Juliano, Vice President of Community Development at Beneficial Bank

If you have children, I know how expensive this time of year can be as you are shopping for all of the clothes and school supplies needed to prepare your family to go back-to-school. You want your children to get off to a great start as they enter a new grade, but, you also want to make sure that you don’t go into unnecessary debt during these shopping trips.

At Beneficial Bank, we are committed to providing our customers with the tools and resources that they need to do the right thing financially. And as an Education Company, we put a high priority on assisting families as they prepare for the new school year. Here are some practical tips for back-to-school shopping to ensure that you don’t overspend.

• Create a budget and stick to it. Make sure that it is realistic and is something that you can commit to.

• Involve your children in the budgeting and shopping process. This educates them on the real costs associated with back-to-school shopping.

Do not use a credit card. Only use cash and debit cards to make your purchases as this eliminates the temptation to overspend and purchase items that are not included in your allocated budget.

• Online money management tools- such as FinanceWorks that is offered through Beneficial’s website- are an ideal way to keep track of all your purchases and the total amount of money that you are spending on back-to-school items.

• Save by shopping in bulk at warehouse stores. Many of these stores offer great sales at this time of year so you can stock up on the school necessities that your children will need.

• If your children need school uniforms, talk with other parents at your school to see if you can trade uniforms. They may have uniforms that their child has outgrown and would be happy to give to you. Making alternations on uniforms- instead of buying new ones- is also a great way to save money.

• When preparing a student to go to college, buying used textbooks is one of the best ways that you can save money. Nearly all book websites offer these sorts of deals.

• If you do not currently have a bank account, now is the perfect time to get one. At Beneficial Bank, you can open a free checking account today with no minimum balance and you immediately receive a free check card.

If you stick to these simple tips, you can ensure that your back-to-school shopping experience fits within your budget and is more enjoyable for the whole family!

Beneficial Bank is committed to helping families manage their finances and we encourage you to visit one of our 65+ local offices, visit our website, or call us at 215-864-6730 to see how we can help you. We have the tools and resources you need to do the right thing financially. Good luck with your back-to-school shopping!

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