Six Tips to a Better Back-to-School Shopping Experience

by David Sung

It’s that time of year again where kids all over the country are getting ready to go back-to-school, and regardless of whether you have one kid or several, getting ready for that first day can be expensive.  Last year the average American family spent more than $600 on back-to-school shopping.  So to ease the sting of those expenses, here are a few simple tips to help you cut your back-to-school spending:

1.  Conduct a Home Inventory - Look around the house and make note of the supplies you already have.  You probably have more supplies stored away from last year that got forgotten than you realize.  Get the kids to help you find these supplies by having a scavenger hunt around the house.

2.  Benefit from Price Matching Policies – Retailers like Staples, Office Depot & Office Max all have price-matching policies.  Take some time and look over all the circulars then save gas & time by only going to the nearest retailer for all your supply needs.

3.  Take Advantage of Tax-Free Shopping - More than a dozen states offer tax-free weekends in August to help reduce the costs of school supplies & clothing.  Visit the Tax Admin's official site to see if your state offers a tax-free weekend.  For example, if you live in New Mexico take advantage of your tax-free weekend August 5th – 7th. For you Texans, enjoy a tax-free weekend August 19th – 21st.

4.  Use this Savvy App When Shopping - iTunes/Android offers a free app called ShopSavvy which allows you to scan any product bar-code to make sure you are getting the best price for that item.

5.  Shop Alone - Leave the kids at home when you shop for school supplies.  This will help avoid impulse buys.  You won’t feel so compelled to buy the Justin Bieber backpack (nothing against the Biebs) your child has to have “or I’ll just die”.

6.  Who Doesn’t Like Free Books - Download many of the classics for free at Gutenberg.org.

Let us know what you think about these tips. We’d love the feedback.

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