Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More Tips on How to School Shop on a Budget

by Diane McLelland
It’s that time of year once again…the kids are getting restless, the days are seemingly a bit shorter, and you’re more than ready to get back to some ‘normalcy’, whatever that may be in your household. It’s back to school time!
There are school supplies to buy, backpacks, new shoes, perhaps a few new outfits. Where can you find the best deals for back-to-school shopping?
First, shop early. Many schools have already begun in various parts of the country. Be a savvy shopper by watching the newspaper circulars for ‘Back to School’ deals. Nearly every ‘big box’ store such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart, and Target have fantastic deals on everything you’ll need to prepare your child or yourself for returning to school.
Shop online, or at least search where to shop and get the best deals- online. EBay and Craigslist can be good choices for larger purchases such as computers or musical instruments. Of course, exercise caution and be mindful of security when shopping online or if purchasing from a private party. The website www.befrugal.com offers information on which stores offer cash back (by shopping online), current coupons, and also allows you to view the individual stores’ circulars for that week. You may also provide your email address to gain access to the featured printable coupons.
Don’t’ forget your local ‘dollar’ stores, Goodwill, re-sale shops, consignment shops, and also watch for deep discounts at the chain department stores. Some people mistakenly think that all the merchandise is overpriced; often this is true; however, shop during sales blitzes and clip coupons, and you could end up purchasing quality merchandise for much less than you think. Some states even offer back-to-school tax exempt weekends. State’s sales taxes vary, so check online to see if your state offers this.
Garage sales are popular at back-to-school time; moms are cleaning out kids’ closets to make room for new or seasonal items, and perhaps you can find that backpack, pair of gently worn athletic shoes, or perhaps even score a computer if you’re lucky!
And, here’s a ‘no-brainer’! According to the website www.savingcentswithsense.net , “Shop your house before going to the store. Find out what you can reuse. Backpacks, calculators, rulers, scissors and binders are all items that can last more than one year.”
Textbooks can be found at textbook exchange stores, online (www.half.com is a website I would recommend) or at the college or university’s bookstore, and I strongly suggest purchasing books early if you’re heading to college. The ‘early bird’ gets the used and more affordable books, and as I’ve learned from experience- there can be a 50-75% savings by purchasing used collegiate level textbooks. I recently was pleasantly surprised to learn that my two college aged sons were virtually able to trade books for their upcoming respective classes, saving perhaps one hundred or more dollars. Now, that was what I call ‘a huge bargain’ and definitely ‘in the budget’!
So, welcome cooler temperatures, sweater weather, and happy back-to-school shopping!
About the Author:
Diane has been called fashionista from a young age, acquiring her love of fashion after enrolling in Sears Charm School as a young girl. After earning her degree in fashion merchandising & business she gained experience by appearing in movies, commercials and magazine layouts. She also worked as a flight attendant for 15 years and wrote for a well-known travel publication. Diane currently works with students to provide career advisement and loves to act as a personal shopper on the weekends for her friends and family.

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