Take Charge America educates parents on back-to-school spending
The National Retail Foundation expects consumers to spend about $74.9 billion this year to send their children and college students back to school, up 12 percent since 2013.
Mike Sullivan of Take Charge America, a nonprofit credit counseling agency, offers eight tips on back-to-school shopping:
Take stock: Supply lists often call for scissors, rulers, pencils and other items people already have at home. Parents can save money by taking stock of what they have before buying new supplies.
Stick to the list: Teachers’ supply lists have become more extensive, so parents are wise to stick to the list and avoid impulse purchases.
Comparison shop: Parents can save money by seeking out the best prices and stocking up on items children use throughout the year.
Clip coupons: Many websites publish coupons on back-to-school clothing and supplies.
Wait to buy: Just like holiday shopping, retailers often discount prices after the rush. Parents can purchase some items after Labor Day to reap savings.
Shop or swap second-hand: Clothing swaps are a popular choice to exchange gently used clothing.
Shop tax-free: Many states offer tax-free shopping days during back-to-school seasons.
Include kids in the process: Many parents give their kids a budget for clothing and necessities. Kids who have to choose between blowing the budget on pricey items or stretching their dollars with sensible purchases will learn a powerful lesson.