Back to school? Shop smart, says the Better Business Bureau

BBB offers tips for stocking up on clothes and supplies for the new year.

Getting ready to go back to school? A recent report by EY (Ernst and Young) says Canadians will spend four per cent more on clothing and supplies this year than last.

But before you dive into buying, check out these back-to-school budget tips from the Better Business Bureau:

• Make a shopping list.

Even if you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other school needs. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high quality backpack will last for years).

• Create a budget.

Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If your goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut.

• Set up email alerts at your favourite stores.

Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices, popular models and links to helpful resources. These alerts will assure you don’t miss out on the hottest, and/or limited, opportunities.

• Take advantage of discounts.

Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will be trying to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.

• Know the true cost of what you are purchasing.

You might be moving out for the first time and buying new furniture.  If you are buying an item on credit, make sure you are aware of not only the interest rate being charged, but any additional fees and costs associated with purchasing on credit including late payment charges. If you engage in cross-border shopping, factor in the cost of gas, duty taxes, and any other additional costs associated with getting your goods back home.

For more tips you can trust, visit www.mbc.bbb.org

Surrey North Delta Leader

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