colorful school supplies

Limiting Back-To-School Spending: Payment Method and Proper Research are Key

Don’t Overspend

It’s a chaotic time of year for many families. Practices are resuming for sports and marching band, camps are ending, and Labor Day is rapidly approaching. To prepare for kids returning to class, parents are budgeting as they plan to buy new clothes, notebooks, backpacks, and laptops.

Despite back-to-school sales and discounts, the dollars involved are enough to stretch wallets to their breaking point. The National Retail Federation’s 2022 survey anticipates families will spend on average $864 on back-to-school supplies as classes get underway. The outlay rises to $1,199 when college students are involved.

The big picture is: don’t spend any more than you have to. Whether it’s a new outfit for picture day or some number two pencils, there are always ways to save.

Research Twice, Purchase Once

The first thing to consider when planning out your school shopping is date sensitive. Make sure you know if and when your state offers sales tax holidays or reduced sales tax on school shopping items. Once that’s been established, make a comprehensive list of what you intend to buy. Determine if all those items are necessary, or if you already have a suitable alternative.

To that end, buying used or refurbished items is a great way to save some cash. Search online marketplaces, tag sales, and flea markets for potential discounts. It can also be useful to have a digital companion in this pursuit. There are web browser extensions that track the price of items across the entire internet, ensuring you’re getting the best deal.

How You Pay Matters

Cash or credit is a commonly asked question at the checkout line, and it’s also something you need to consider during back-to-school shopping. Specifically, think about which credit card to use when buying items. During a shopping spree of this size, it makes sense to take advantage of cashback or rewards points offered by some credit card companies. It may also be possible to get 0% interest on purchases during an introductory period.

Ecommerce experts also suggest using a shopping portal. These websites offer users cashback and other benefits when making purchases at participating stores. Finally, as you would during any other shopping trip, don’t ignore discounts. This includes coupon codes available for online purchases and discounts specifically geared toward students.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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