FRESNO, Calif. - It’s that time again; time to start planning your back-to-school shopping. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, or for your kids, you want to be sure to get the best deals in town to avoid overspending.
According to the National Retail Federation, combined back-to-school and back-to-college spending is expected to reach an all-time high—$83.6 billion.
According to the survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, families with children that range from elementary school to high school plan to spend an average of $687.72 each, while college students and their families plan to spend an average of $969.88 this year.
Where you shop can make all the difference in your budget.
In terms of back-to-school shopping, 57.1 percent plan to shop at a department store, 54.1 percent plan to shop at a discount store, and 45.5 percent plan to shop online, while 44.1 percent of back-to-college shoppers plan to shop online, and 40 percent plan to shop at a discount store for all their back-to-school needs.
Better Business Bureau Serving Central California & Inland Empire Counties offers up the following tips on how to shop smart when starting your back-to-school or back-to-college shopping.
Make a list
You can either wait for the school supplies list to come out, or start shopping without it. Even if you don’t have the exact list, you should have an idea of what to purchase regarding school clothes, and basic supplies. Jot everything down on a list and stick to it! Impulse buying can jack up your overall total in a hurry.
Check your home
You may already have some of the items from last year hidden in your home. Why purchase the same thing twice if you don’t have too?
Research big ticket items
Before purchasing that expensive laptop, tablet or dorm refrigerator, be sure to do your research. Research the brands, warranty, customer reviews and the prices at various stores to be sure you’re getting the best deal.
Look for the sales
Compare prices between different retail stores, save your coupons, sign up for email alerts and redeem any cash-back or rebate offers. This will help you get the best deals, saving you a nice chunk of dough.
Look for student discounts
Many stores and software companies offer discounts to students that have either an .edu email address or a student ID. Even if you don’t see a discount advertised at the store, ask!
Shop in bulk
Some teachers ask parents to buy bulk items for the entire classroom to use throughout the year. Talk with other parents about what they’re getting, and see if you can all split the cost.
Save your receipts
When shopping, be sure to save your receipts just in case you have to return the item later. Know the stores return policy beforehand to avoid any mishaps like unwanted items being non-refundable.
When shopping from an online website the first step is to make sure the URL starts with “https” and includes a lock symbol. The S in “https” stands for secure, that way you know your information is being protected.
Be sure to use your credit card instead of your debit card, as credit cards not only provide additional protection, but it’s also easier to dispute a fraudulent charge.
For more tips you can trust, visit bbb.org/ccie.