Back to School? Shop Smart!

Aug. 4, 2013

Getting ready to go back to school? Join the crowd! In 2012, $83.8 billion dollars were spent on back-to-school shopping in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. That breaks down to the average person spending around $688.62 on their children in grades K-12.

"It's important to take your time and plan accordingly when it comes to the shopping process," says Ran Hoth, CEO and President of the BBB of Wisconsin. "Knowing what questions to ask and having a plan can save both time and money."

Of course, not everyone will spend as much as the average person, but before you dive into buying new clothes and supplies, check out these back-to-school budget tips from BBB:

Make a shopping list. Even if you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other school needs. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high quality backpack will last for years).

Create a budget. Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If you goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut.

Set up email alerts at your favorite stores. Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices, popular models and links to helpful resources. These alerts will assure you don’t miss out on the hottest, and/or limited, opportunities.

Take advantage of discounts. Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will be trying to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.

For more tips you can trust, visit and for the latest, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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