Back to school shopping does not have to mean breaking the bank

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The recession may be on the minds of many Canadians, but kids need back to school supplies regardless of the economy. Back to school is the second busiest shopping season and this year Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada Inc. offers parents and students advice.

Across the country 692,000 primary and secondary school teachers and over 5.2 million students will be reuniting this September. As past trends dictate, August brings about the popular "back to school shopping" season, encouraging consumer spending. Consolidated Credit offers Canadians shopping tips to keep costs down and value up.

Retail sales are up 1.2% since May of 2009. A recent Visa Canada survey finds that shoppers are expected to spend $600 online shopping before Labour Day. The reason for this is convenience, better prices and superior selection. Shoppers can navigate from one e-store to another in the comfort of their home. Among the big-ticket items on the wish lists of students are new tech-toys and expensive gadgets. New and emerging items in stores, along with creative marketing targeting school-aged children have created a new market for high-tech devices.

Discuss your family's budget for back to school shopping so your children know what they are and are not allowed to get. This is the perfect time to teach children how to save and plan for the future; unexpected costs may come up, and being prepared will allow children to make better choices when it comes to personal finances. A new poll from the mutual fund company T. Rowe Price found that 85 percent of parents with children between ages 8 and 14 say their child have a piggy bank and report that it sets a good example about saving.

Consolidated Credit's tips for keeping the "back to school" shopping experience low cost and efficient:

  • Create a manageable family budget: this will help you avoid overspending on back to school items that can be purchased later in the year or when on sale
  • Determine needs: Differentiate between "needs" and "wants". Decide what is essential for a successful school year ahead, and what can be put off.
  • Dare to compare: Impulse shopping can lead to overspending. Check with a few retailers for the best prices prior to purchase.
  • Online retailer sites (secured zones): Online retailers often have incentives that will save you a lot of money. Incentives include: free shipping, multi-pack (saving on shipping), manufacturer discounts, e-coupons, 2-for-1 deals and more.
  • In-store rebates: Coupons that are redeemable at time of purchase are a great way to save money on back to school shopping.
  • Clearance items: Many retailers need to clear shelf space and offer big discounts on many items.
  • Use cash, not credit: Avoid accumulating unnecessary debts by not using the plastic on unnecessary items
  • Keep track: Keep hold of all receipts and check off what you have already purchased, to avoid overspending.

Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada Inc.'s mission is to help people end financial crisis and solve money problems through debt management, financial education and professional counseling. For more information and resources on budgeting your personal finances, visit http://www.consolidatedcredit.ca

For interviews with Jeffrey Schwartz or inquiries about Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada please contact Galit Osadtsuk, Director of Community and Public Relations at 1-800-656-4120 ext. 1014.

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