Back-to-school season is here. That means many parents wake up early to get their kids on the bus, pick them up from sports practice, and help      them with their homework. It’s also a time when parents may need to dip into their budgets to buy backpacks, calculators, pens, pencils, and other supplies so their children can succeed in the classroom. These school supplies can add up. So, read about five smart financial moves parents can make during the back-to-school season.

1. Make a budget

Creating a budget can help keep track of spending on school supplies. Parents can start by gathering their total income from their job and other income sources and list that at the top. Then, they should review the items they’ll need to buy for their child and write them down.

This will help parents visualize how much money they’ll need to set aside to get those supplies. It also gives them some flexibility — if someone has extra room in their budget, for example, they could get a more advanced calculator that could prove helpful in their child’s math class.

2. Get a life insurance policy

The start of school is a great time to cover loved ones with life insurance. If the policyholder passes away while their policy is active, their beneficiaries receive a death benefit to help replace income and pay off debts. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the need gap for life insurance is at an all-time high, with 106 million Americans either lacking enough coverage or not having a policy at all.

Term life insurance is affordable and offers substantial coverage, typically lasting 10 to 30 years. On the other hand, permanent life insurance comes with higher premiums but lets policyholders lock in rates and coverage for life. Plus, its cash value growth component builds every time the policyholder pays premiums. It grows tax-deferred at a specified rate. When the cash value grows enough, policyholders can borrow against it or withdraw from it. They also get this cash value minus surrender charges if they surrender the policy.

Fidelity Life offers affordable and accessible life insurance policies that can give families the financial protection they need going into the school year. Parents can look for life insurance quotes online with Fidelity Life to find a policy suited for their needs.

3. Look for coupons and discounts on school supplies

Each school year, parents will need to make room in their budget for supplies. But keep in mind that many stores offer coupons and discounts that they can take advantage of. This is especially true for those who shop online. Shopping online lets people search for coupons much more quickly and compare prices from the comfort of their couch.

4. Create an emergency fund

An emergency fund is a savings account to cover unwelcome surprises like job loss or car accidents. A common recommendation is to have three to six months saved for emergencies. Those with larger families should aim for the upper end since having more family members can increase the chance of an emergency.

Consider keeping these funds in a high-yield savings account which can earn more interest than a traditional savings account, helping the funds keep up with inflation.

5. Plan for next year

Once parents have purchased this year’s school supplies, they may want to take note of what they bought because now is an excellent time to start planning for next year’s school shopping. Planning helps people prepare early for the coupon and discount hunt while giving them more time to save. This will also help them get to the store and knock everything out quickly next time around. As a result, they can minimize the stress of fighting through crowds to get the supplies they need.

Get financially ready for the school year

Now that school’s here, it’s an excellent time for parents to make a budget for their children’s school supplies and overall spending. From there, stock up on an emergency fund, then look for coupons and discounts on school supplies. Parents should also ensure they have life insurance, so their family is taken care of if the worst happens. Lastly, they can start planning for next year today so they can be ready to save more money on supplies shopping next year. Follow these tips to minimize overall financial stress and the stresses of a new school year.

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