August is upon us and the start of school is has quickly arrived. Retailers are advertising back to school sales and many consumers are hitting the stores and the web to take advantage of deals. With no tax-free weekend in Massachusetts this year, some local retailers are offering special sales as a replacement. Better Business Bureau of Central New England has tips to help you be a savvy shopper this back to school season.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend over $75 billion on back-to-school and college spending this year. “Like the holidays, this is a time of year when many plan to spend and shop,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “BBB always encourages consumers to comparison shop, and know who and where you are purchasing from, especially when shopping online.” Save time and money with these tips from your BBB:
- Make a shopping list. Know what your family needs. Having a set list will keep your spending in check and help you avoid make spontaneous purchases.
- Create a budget. Price search to get estimates on products you need to have an idea of what you will need to spend. Search for sales, coupons and other special deals that can help you cut costs.
- Know return and refund policies. Be sure to be aware of all refund and return policies, every store is different. Keep in mind some stores charge a restocking fee and have different conditions for sale and clearance items.
- Make sure online sites are secure. When shopping online, be sure you know who you are purchasing from and have correct contact information should you need to reach them, including their location. If you make a purchase, verify that the site is secure by checking for the “s” in https or the small padlock in the address bar. Both of these indicate the site is safe to enter personal information.