Enter any store, and you'll see educational supplies prominently displayed, evidence that the end of summer break is soon approaching. The back-to-school and college shopping season is expected to reach $83.6 billion, an all-time spending high this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF). Families with elementary through high school aged children will spend an average of $687.72 each. The biggest expenses are clothing and electronics for both those returning to grade school and college with shopping done both in stores and online (NRF).
“Back-to-school season is great for local businesses, but it can be tough on consumers. Without a careful plan and preparation the expenses can quickly go over budget," said Amie Mitchell, President and CEO. “Better Business Bureau® encourages families to do their research and have a game plan before heading out to do their shopping.”
Many families will be doing a significant portion of their back to school shopping this coming weekend as Oklahoma observes tax-free weekend. Typically tax exemption applies to clothing or footwear costing less than $100.
BBB® offers these tips for making the most of the cost saving weekend:
Identify charitable programs. There are also local resources for families in need. Community religious organizations and other non-profit groups often collect donations to provide school supplies, backpacks, clothing, haircuts, and immunizations free of charge. A few examples include:
Research businesses. Visit the BBB website to search brick and mortar stores, online shops and apps to review their business profiles and read verified reviews. This will help you avoid wasting your time and money at shops that are less than trustworthy.
Practice smart online shopping. Review BBB Tips for Shopping Online to ensure you are ordering from a legitimate website and that your personal information stays safe.