Keeping Back To School Expenses Down

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Howard Schwartz of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau talks about ways you can keep spending down when back to school shopping. The BBB offers these tips to help you keep spending in line as the fall semester approaches:

Check your inventory – See what clothes still fit from last year before laying down a bundle on new clothing and accessories. Buy items than can be easily mixed and matched.  Use a checklist before shopping to help you stick to your budget, rather than buying on impulse.

Go online – Before you begin shopping, do a quick price search for items on your list to help you budget.  Online shopping can offer great savings, but calculate shipping costs to make sure they don’t eat away at the discounts.  College students also can save hundreds of dollars by purchasing from sites dedicated to re-selling textbooks.

Set-up email alerts at your favorite stores – Email and Twitter alerts can give you a heads up when items go on sale.  Many sites 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 ensure 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 substantial savings to be had on last season’s items.

Shop out of season – You don’t have to purchase your youngster’s wardrobe for the entire year in one outing.  Instead of paying a premium for the latest styles, save money by purchasing summer clothes in the winter and vice versa.  If your child is still growing, you might want to buy clothing that is a size or two larger for later in the school year.

Don’t skimp on certain items – While there are places where you can cut corners, there is little point in looking to save money by purchasing a $20 backpack that will have to be replaced by the end of the year.  Pay a little extra for quality items that can handle wear and tear.

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