Cost-Cutting Tips for Back-to-School

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Back To School

Randy Craig, Editorial Manager for the National PTA makes great suggestion in his article which we reprint for you here.

As expected, the economy will have an impact on back-to-school spending. The National Retail Federation says the average family with students in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend an average of $548.72 on back-to-school merchandise, down 7.7 percent from last year, according to the group’s annual survey. The survey goes on to say four out of five Americans have made some changes to back-to-school spending plans. More than half (56.2 percent) will hunt for sales more often. Nearly half (49.6 percent) will be spending less and more than 40 percent will be using coupons or purchasing generic products more frequently.

Consumers might be feeling pinched by the economy, but these tips can relieve some of the pressure. Check out these cost-saving measures:

Online Coupons
Coupon sites are valuable, but there are hundreds of them on the Internet. This only breeds confusion. SmartMoney analyzed the slew of coupon sites and recommended these five:

In addition to online coupon sites, customers can often do their comparative shopping online to find the best bargains. Look for free shipping deals. These might make it less expensive to buy online than buying at the physical store.

Tap into your networks
Whether it is your circle of neighborhood friends or an online community, your social networks can be a good place to start. Ask if anyone has an item you need and be willing to swap for something they need. These swaps can be for clothes or supplies or both. If someone has a membership at a discount club, you can all go in on bulk purchases.

Prioritize
What really needs replaced? Sure, junior probably wants a new bookbag, but will the old one last one more year? It might be possible to let the child choose which item he or she wants to be brand new this year (a new bookbag or new soccer shoes, for instance). Also, set a budget and stick to it. Resist the urge to buy impulse items. Identify what is truly needed.

Stock up
Don’t just buy for back-to-school during the summer. Take advantage of sales throughout the year on common items such as pens, paper and folders. The same concept applies to food for healthy lunches. Shop at discount and club stores for staples like chicken, apples and foods that will keep for a long time or can be frozen.

New shopping venues
Goodwill stores, consignment shops and even yard sales can house incredible bargains. Don’t be misled by your perceptions…these outlets often have plenty of items in perfectly good (even brand new) condition at incredibly low prices.