Getting the most from your back to school dollars


Getting ready for back to school season? Families are expected to spend more this summer than last year on school supplies. The average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $673.57 on apparel, shoes, electronics and supplies, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). That’s up 9.6 percent from $630.36 last year.

According to the NRF, total spending for families with students in K-12 and college is expected to reach $75.8 billion. A large portion of that spending includes electronics such as computers or calculators, totaling more than $19 billion.

Of course, not everyone will need to purchase new laptops and supplies, but before you start shopping, check out these back-to-school budget tips from BBB

Make a List. You may already own many of the items needed. Even if you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other basic school needs. Beware of impulse buying.

Create a budget. Sign up for sales alerts online from your favorite stores. Consider buying basic supplies (like notebooks, folders and pencils) at discount stores. Watch ads for coupons and don’t forget to check price matching policies.

Review advertisements. Review ads for restrictions on quantities, and dates for sale and return policies. When shopping online, read the fine print for return and exchange policies and take advantage of free shipping specials.

Network with other parents. Seek out or host a clothing swap online or in your neighborhood; this can be a great way to recycle your gently used items and save money on the things you need this year. Also, research the potential savings of buying school supplies in bulk and splitting the cost with other parents in your area.

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 fashions and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.

The BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU  serves eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont.

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