Save Time and Money on Teacher’s Back-to-School List

August 15, 2012

Every year, some parents prepare for the upcoming school year by buying basic supplies before the first day of class, knowing all too well that an additional supply list will be sent home after the first day. Better Business Bureau (BBB) reminds parents that the same back-to-school shopping tips used to save money before the school year can be applied when buying items after the first day of class.

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), parents are making a special effort to save on school supplies this year, with 31% of families stating they would engage in comparative online shopping. Many families also indicated they would use more coupons.

“While many retailers offer back-to-school incentives such as coupons, rebates, and giveaways to entice shoppers, consumers should ask whether they really need the items before making a purchase,” said BBB President/CEO Matthew Fehling. “Sticking to the teacher’s list is actually a good way to avoid overspending and buying items you don’t really need.”

BBB offers parents the following tips to save money when fulfilling the teacher’s back-to-school supply list:

● Stick to the list. Don’t waste time and money on items not on the teacher’s list, as they will probably go unused.

● Hold off on trendy stuff. While kids might want a trendy lunch box or pencil case, this could easily change after they see what their friends are using. Sticking to supplies that are a solid color can allow for updates as the school year progresses, encouraging creativity by using stickers and other less costly supplies.

● Take inventory of school supplies at home. There may be an endless supply of markers, crayons, and notebooks at home. Reusing these items can save significant money over the years. Consider repackaging, sharpening, or cleaning out old items before buying new ones.

● Check refund and exchange policies. Be sure you can exchange or return items purchased that you don’t need. Keep in mind some items may be non-refundable or have restocking fees associated with a return.

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit BBB’s News Center at

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