Back-to-school season means shopping, whether your children learn at home or head to school in person.
Before determining what students may need for the year, set a budget. Planning ahead as much as possible will help keep expenses to a minimum and help everyone involved stay on task.
BBB recommends the following tips when looking for school-related items, either in person or online:
- While it’s improving, supply chain issues and labor shortages can impact shopping this upcoming school year. When getting ready to shop, contact the store directly if you have questions about hours, policies, or if supplies are in stock.
Research big-ticket items
- Whether your children learn in-person at school or online from home, technology has come to the forefront over the past three years. When buying new equipment, check with your child’s school to learn about any technical requirements and determine if any changes are necessary to the home’s high-speed internet.
- Before purchasing an expensive laptop, tablet, or computer accessory, research the brands, warranty, customer reviews, and prices at various stores to ensure the best deal. Also, look up the retailer’s reputation on BBB.org.
Shop smart with sales and tax-free weekends
- Compare prices between retail stores, save coupons, sign up for email alerts, and redeem any cash-back or rebate offers. This will help you get the best deals and stay within budget. Also, your state may have a tax-free weekend, enabling you to buy clothes, school supplies, and other items without paying sales tax. Check out this resource from the Federation of Tax Administrators to see what your state offers.
Ask for discounts
- Many stores and software companies offer discounts. Some are available to students with either a “.edu” email address or a student ID. Others may have a discount for signing up for marketing materials or surf the internet for online coupons and discounts (make sure they are affiliated with the retailer). It doesn’t hurt to ask, even if you don’t see a deal advertised at the store.
Consider buying in bulk
- If meeting in person, some teachers may ask parents to buy bulk items (paper towels, tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer) for the entire classroom to use throughout the year. Compare lists with other parents and see if costs can be shared.
Shop wisely and safely online