How to Keep Back-to-School Shopping from Hurting Your Credit

Back-to-school shopping can get very expensive, and all too often, parents end up maxing out their credit cards trying to pay for everything. This alone is bad for credit scores, which are hurt when someone’s level of credit usage vs. available credit is too high. If the increased bills cause late or missed payments, the damage is even worse. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to avoid credit damage from the back-to-school season. Here are five tips from

1. Avoid or Minimize Credit Card Usage for Back-to-School Shopping

When it comes to avoiding credit problems, cash is still king. Instead of planning on using cards, start saving some money each month starting right away. Once back-to-school shopping season arrives, use that money to pay for as much of the required merchandise as you can. Even if you don’t have enough saved to buy everything, you can substantially reduce your credit card usage.

2. Don’t Buy the Finest of Everything

It’s natural to want your child or children to have the best of everything, but it really doesn’t matter for some things. Notebook paper, pencil erasers, and other staples are typically fine even if they’re the cheapest or nearly cheapest versions. Exceptions do exist, such as with pencils (cheap ones tend to have “leads” that break far too easily, rendering them useless), but an acceptable brand will still be fairly cheap.

3. Only Buy New Clothes and Shoes if They’re Really Needed

Grade-school children grow so fast that there’s usually no way around having to buy new clothes and shoes each year. Teenagers, on the other hand, sometimes grow more slowly. Have them wear last year’s clothes if they still fit and don’t look worn out.

4. Spread Your Purchases Out Over the Entire Year

Most back-to-school gear is predictable enough to get it without a list from the school. This lets you buy the standards, such as paper and binders, in small batches of a few items per month. By doing this, you spread out the expense and lessen any school-related financial crunch. The few things that you couldn’t predict far in advance can then be purchased during the usual season – without breaking the bank.

5. Pay Down Credit Cards as Soon as Possible

Not only does early payment free up credit for the next thing you need to buy, but it also helps your credit score by reducing your credit utilization ratio. This also means you are charged less interest every month, so you don’t have as much debt to pay back over time. If you need help repairing damaged credit, visit We’ll work with you, credit bureaus, and others to eliminate erroneous items from your credit report. There is no advance fee, so contact us today.