Mickey Kunnary the Recipient of MCUCD's 2015 Philosophy in Action Award


Karen Smith
Executive Director
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Topic of the Month


Congratulations! You’ve survived the summer. But can your wallet afford the high costs of back-to-school season? A 2014 survey by the National Retail Federation found that families with school-age children planned to spend an average of $669.28 on back-to-school expenses, a 5-percent increase over the previous year.  Paying for college can also be hard. Thankfully, there are a variety of strategies that can be used to help pay for school.  Start saving and planning today and learn about the different ways to make it more affordable for you. 

During August we will focus on tips and resources available to help you discover how to prepare for the expenses of the future, how best to access your money for education costs, and how to teach your child financial responsibility that comes with adulthood. Weekly tips will include information on preparing for your child’s future education, understanding the differences between loans, approaches to paying back student loans and other strategies for paying for school.

9 Ways to Cut costs on Back-to-School Shopping

  • Take Inventory: Before you hit the stores this fall, take stock of what you have.
  • Host a Back-to-School Swap: It’s safe to say you aren’t the only parent who dreads school-spending splurges. Gather a group of parents and host a back-to-school swap
  • Shop Late: Avoid the August rush—and August prices—by skipping the crowded mall and waiting for sales to arrive in late September. You’ll get the same clothes at a fraction of the price.
  • Price Match: Many large stores offer price-match guarantees. Bring an ad or your smartphone with you to prove a competitor’s price, and rejoice in getting the best deal in town.
  • Stay Smart with After-School Treats: Instead of grabbing fast food in the name of speed, try prepping a healthier, cheaper option the night before. Snacks such as carrot sticks, crackers, and fresh berries are easy on your budget and more nutritious for your kids.
  • Don’t Forget About the Dollar Store: Think outside the name-brand box.

Sending your kids back to school doesn’t have to be a financial hurdle you face each year. With a little planning and a few of these tips, you and your family can get ready to tackle a new school year with everything you need, including a little extra in the bank.



Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (or MCUCD) is the award-winning, charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network. A state-wide nonprofit organization, MCUCD works together with the state's credit unions to improve the lives and financial independence of all Montanans.