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Today's Family Magazine

Tips for shopping smart this back-to-school season

Jul 17, 2017 04:46PM ● By Today's Family
Back-to-school time brings promises of new beginnings, a new school year and renewal of an orderly routine.  It’s exciting for both kids and parents alike, and breathes a fresh, full breath into the middle of the year.  While Ohio’s Tax Free Weekend, August 4-6, 2017, kicks off the back-to-school shopping frenzy, parents need to stretch their dollar even further.  School supplies, textbooks, clothing, athletic and club dues, backpacks and college dorm room essentials all come with a large price tag attached.  Follow these dollar saving tips to shop smart this back-to-school season.

1. �Study – Like any good student preparing for an exam, be sure to research local retailer offerings, coupons and advertisements to compare prices.  Then, shop on Tax Free Weekend to maximize your savings.  While this may take time upfront, the financial benefits are realized upon checkout.

2. �Shop Thrift – Retrain your brain to visit your neighborhood thrift store, like Goodwill, before heading to the mall or big box retailer.  Thrift stores are a best kept secret for seasoned parents sending their kids off to college.  Your local Goodwill always has a selection of gently-used furniture available at college budget friendly prices.  Additionally, thrift stores are a great place for teens to find unique clothing that makes a statement. Teens want to stand out with their fashion, so skip the generic shopping at the mall and thrift one-of-a-kind items worthy of an Instagram selfie (for less than half the price).

3. �Shop Within Your Own Home – Okay, does little Johnny really need a brand new backpack?  Are Sally’s gym shoes still in good shape?  Before swiping your credit card for everything new, take an honest look at what is already in your house – chances are you’ll be surprised.  Pens, rulers and calculators from last year may still be in excellent usable condition.  This lesson (along with Tip #2) can teach kids not to be wasteful, recycle, and that there is always value to be realized, regardless of whether an item is brand new.

4. �Shop At Home – Perusing online resale websites like Craigslist, Shop Goodwill and eBay can yield savings on gently used clothing, textbooks, housewares, technology and furniture.  Be sure to regularly check in on these sites in the weeks leading up to school if you’re looking for something specific.

5. �Plan for Next Year – Yes, this sounds extreme, but when the average American family is spending over $600 on back-to-school shopping, it’s time to start saving for next year.  Just like you put money aside for holiday shopping, saving for this time of year is a smart idea.  In lieu of the extra latte or lottery ticket splurge, put aside $10 every month towards back-to-school shopping.  Your future self will thank you come next summer.

While back-to-school shopping is a big undertaking, if you shop smart, it doesn’t have to be a big expense.  With research, a thrifty mindset and careful planning, parents and their kids can arrive at the first day of school with all the necessities plus a few little frills for well under budget.

Article submitted by Goodwill.

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