NEW YORK (WABC) -- Even though summer vacations are in full swing, stores are all stocked up for Back-to-School shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, the average family in the United States will fork over $697 on supplies to get ready for the school year. 7 On Your Your Side has 7 tips to help you save money so your annual budget isn't blown getting ready for Back-to-School Shopping.
1) TAKE STOCK & MAKE A BUDGET
Before you shop, TAKE STOCK of what you already have said Leslie H. Tayne, a financial attorney who's firm helps families https://attorney-newyork.com/about-us/ with debt solutions. Leslie isn't t just a debt relief expert, she's also a Long Island mom raising a blended family of five kids!
"I think you need to prepare ahead of the school year to know exactly what you're going to be in for financially," Tayne said. "Budget for the year, see what dues, donations, class trip, and other after school expenses to expect with budget cuts, more and more schools are relying on parents to fill the gap."
2) Ask the Teacher for the Must-Haves
Once you get the class supply list from the teacher, Leslie suggests contacting them to see what the must-haves are first. "Reach out and say, "Is this really necessary and why is that you want them to have it and is there an alternative?' And then find one that's less money," Tayne said. Often there are cheaper substitutions or maybe they won't need that expensive science calculator until mid-year and you can give it as a holiday gift.
3) Swap & Sell in Community Groups
A great resource Tayne also uses are community parent groups on Facebook. "Talk to parents with kids in the same class, with the same teacher, see if there are items you can buy, swap or they can lend you," she said.
4) Don't assume a "Deal is a Deal"
Next when you're out shopping, Tayne says don't be fooled by special displays or items in the premium spots at the end of the aisle.
"The eye-catching displays are just that, designed to draw you in. Stick to what's on your list and ask the sales associate, or look around because there can be items in different places and you don't know if you're getting the best price just because its on the end cap." Tayne says to use price comparison tools and ask for price matches on big-ticket items.
5) Teacher/Student ID Connection for Discounts
Tayne also says many families often overlook discounts offered to teachers and students by many retailers. She reminds you to use your connections! See where the teachers are getting the best deals.
Even if its discounts aren't being advertised, you should always ask. You'd be surprised how many retailers will knock off an extra 10 percent!
"I have 3 kids in college you can use your student ID for discounts to movies, to supplies, to food, especially in the college areas they offer all kinds of discounts!" she said.
6) Rent, Don't Buy
See if you can rent instead of buying expensive equipment like musical instruments, science calculators, etc. You can save a bundle by renting.
7) Like, Follow & Friend Your Way to Deals on Social Media
Starting right now, "liking," "following," or "friending" your favorite retailers on social medial, will often get you a promo code and coupon right to your inbox. Use it when you're finally ready to get off the beach and back to school shopping!
7 tips for saving money on back to school shopping
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