Believe it or not, summer is almost over and that means that students across the United States are preparing to head back to school. While shopping for new notebooks, backpacks and other supplies is exciting and fun, it is easy to quickly spend more than you can afford. In fact, the National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend more this year, with average spending of $669.28 per family — 5 percent higher than last year. Combined spending for students in kindergarten through 12th grade and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion. 

While you want to send your kids to their first day with everything they need, you also need to stay within your financial means. Here are some tips from Real Simple Magazine for setting a budget and sticking to it:

  • 50/20/30: Remember that about 50 percent of your take-home pay should go toward living expenses like your rent or mortgage, utilities and food. Twenty percent goes to savings, and 30 percent can go to "extras," including back-to-school shopping. 
  • Involve your kids: This is a great opportunity to teach budgeting to your children, so include them in the planning and discussion! 
  • Keep track: Write down all of your expenditures so that you know exactly where the money went. This way you can adjust your budget if some things were more expensive than you anticipated. 

The beginning of a new school year is a good time to make sure that you have all of your financial bases covered, including unexpected tragedy. Be sure that you have a good life insurance policy to provide for your children after you're gone. If you would like to learn more about making a life insurance investment, get a quote from Local Life Agents today.