Spend Less on Back-to-School Supplies

With school starting in just a few weeks, BBB offers tips on how to stick to your budget this year.

Concord, NH, August 22, 2012 --(PR.com)-- It’s too bad shoppers can’t be saved by the bell in their favorite retail stores. With money tight and a new school year quickly approaching, overspending while gearing up for the first day of school is not an option. Better Business Bureau recommends sticking to your budget to avoid spending too much on the coolest pencils and pads.

According to the National Retail Federation, parents will be shopping carefully and making special efforts to save on supplies. This year, an increased number of families say they will do comparative shopping online to try to find great deals. With the hopes of saving, 51.1% of consumers are planning to shop for more sales compared to 50% last year.

Many retailers have picked up on the average consumer’s need to save and have started offering back-to-school coupons and give-aways to lure these shoppers into their stores or onto their websites. Consumers are advised to stick to the following tips before pulling out their wallets.

Take inventory. Reusing markers, crayons, pencils and pens can save hundreds of dollars over the years. Consider repackaging, sharpening, and cleaning out older items before buying new ones.

Look for the deals. Some retailers’ back-to-school specials are available for online and in-store purchase. Make sure to check out your local newspaper for deals. Oftentimes, retailers will put ads showcasing the special buy-one-get-one free deals, and even coupled items like lunchboxes with backpacks to lure in customers. Shop sooner rather than later and save more.

Set a budget. Decide how much you are willing to spend per child, and include your children for a “teachable moment” on creating a budget. After taking inventory, create a shopping list and stick to it. This will help you avoid costly impulse purchases and ensure nothing is forgotten.

Know what your child's school allows. Schools will often provide parents with a list of required items for the school year, which can help determine what you need to purchase. These lists are also available at many retail stores and on school websites. Additionally, keep restrictive dress codes in mind before spending money on clothes your kids can’t wear.

Check for refund and exchange policies. In 2011, with 257 complaints, BBB of New Hampshire processed more consumer complaints regarding refund or exchange issues than any other classification. Be sure you can exchange or return items purchased during this time period. Keep in mind some items may be non-refundable or have restocking fees associated with a return.

For more consumer tips or to find a business you can trust, visit www.concord.bbb.org.
BBB Serving New Hampshire
Jamie Shomphe