DEDHAM, Mass. — Inflation is adding another layer of anxiety to an already stressful back-to-school shopping season. According to business research company Deloitte, parents are going to spend an average of $661 per child on back-to-school items — that’s a $41 increase from last year.
“Considering the average American household is already spending nearly $500 more per month on basic necessities, finding extra cash to pay for school supplies, clothing and tech may seem impossible,” consumer blogger Andrea Woroch said.
Woroch offered five shopping hacks for parents this back-to-school season.
SHOP AT HOME FIRST
Before you run to the department store, take a look around your house. Chances are you have left over school supplies from last year that will be good enough for your child to use this coming school year.
“If you have half-used notebooks, rip out the pages they used. Re-use folders and wipe off the backpack,” Woroch said. “If they complain they want a new backpack, this is a good budgeting lesson. Teach them that the money saved on that backpack can go towards a new pair of sneakers or denim they want.”
THINK OUTSIDE REGULAR RETAIL
“Think how you can save by shopping second-hand, even swapping,” Woroch said. “For backpacks and clothing, you can save big at a local consignment shop. Check online sites that sell gently-used kids clothing and school supplies.”
CONSIDER BUYING REFURBISHED ELECTRONICS
Electronics tend to be the most expensive purchase for back-to-school shopping. Woroch said parents should look at buying older generations of certain gadgets, like tablets or laptops. Retailers like Amazon, eBay and Best Buy offer “like new” refurbished products.
“These are electronics that a retailer has inspected and fixed and promised to work and look like new,” Woroch said.
LEVERAGE TECH TO SNAG BIGGER BARGAINS
Retailers change prices all the time, so knowing who has the best price can be confusing and time-consuming. Woroch recommends using money-saving apps and browser tools that can help you snag the best bargains.
“Don’t stop at the sale price,” Woroch said. “You want to leverage some digital apps and browser tools that can help you save more on your back-to-school purchases.”
STICK TO STORE BRANDS
Woroch said you can save 30 to 50 percent on school supply basics like notebooks, pencils and folders by simply opting for the store brand over the name brand. For example, she said a Five Star 1 subject notebook retails for $3.39, but she found a similar Target Up&Up brand notebook on sale for just 95 cents.
“You can save a lot by going with that generic option. Plus, retailers have more power to offer bigger deals and more sales on their store brands,” Woroch said.
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