Buying back-to-school supplies can be expensive
Baltimore, MD (PRWEB) July 16, 2008
While many consumers are still thinking about summer vacations, back-to-school shopping season is almost upon us. Stores are stocking up and displaying everything from kids' fall fashions to school supplies and college dorm room essentials. Back-to-school shopping can be a huge financial burden on parents or students who are already in debt, and CareOne agencies are helping to ease that burden by offering tips for consumers on how to save money on back-to-school necessities.
"Buying back-to-school supplies can be expensive," says CareOne Credit Counseling Services Spokesperson Clarky Davis. "It can be especially tough on parents who must purchase clothing, school supplies, textbooks or other items for multiple children. For those parents sending their kids off to college, they are facing high costs on expensive dorm room or apartment basics. Those on a budget, or those in debt, don't have to sacrifice necessities in order to have a cost-effective, yet successful, return to school."
Agencies that provide CareOne Credit Counseling Services offer the following tips to help cut costs in back-to-school shopping:
1. When purchasing back-to-school clothes, focus on basics and durability. Spend most of your clothing budget on items that are versatile and that will last throughout the year, such as jeans, tee shirts, and sweat shirts. Most kids and teens worry about looking stylish. They can stay in style by choosing a few pieces that are in fashion, but that work with their basic pieces as opposed to several full "outfits."
2. Make a list of all school supplies your children will need. Afterwards, compare your list to store circulars or sales fliers. During this time of year, companies offer drastic sales on many supplies. Try to buy as much as possible in a single trip to save additional money on gas rather than driving all around town (unless the savings would justify it).
3. Buy in bulk. It may sound counter-intuitive to purchase more up front when trying to save money, but purchasing school and office supplies out of season can cost two, or even four, times as much depending on the store and products. If you can afford to purchase enough basic supplies (such as pens, pencils, folders, binders, and notebooks) to last the entire school year, it will save more money overall.
4. Keep your eyes peeled for discounts. School supplies are sold in a variety of places, from huge discount chains to dollar stores to even supermarkets.
5. Hit the clearance sales. Believe it or not, some stores stop back-to-school sales within a week or two of kids starting school. By buying just enough for those weeks early on, you can stock up on supplies for the rest of the year at half off (or even more) those already-discounted back-to-school prices while stores try to unload their excess inventory.
6. College students can be faced with having to spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks each semester. Try ordering those textbooks online instead of purchasing them directly through college bookstores. Students usually get a book list before classes start, so they should arrive in time, and a lot of money can be saved by purchasing the books at online discount stores or through online used textbook sellers. Classified sites can be another option for finding used textbooks at low prices from past students.
7. Reuse supplies from last year. Perhaps you have extra pens already at home, or you stocked up on too many folders or notebooks the previous year. Maybe an older child has a graphing calculator that a younger child is now required to have for a course, and they can share or it could be passed down. Backpacks can often last several years, and worn-in looks can even be in style.
8. Get a list from the school. Many schools or individual teachers will be happy to provide a list of materials needed for the school year. This is especially true for younger children who may need things like safety scissors, crayons, and glue for creative projects. It's also good to know if students can use a single binder or notebook for all courses, or if each class requires its own. Don't spend more than you need to by assuming your child needs supplies they won't actually use.
9. If you have a child going away to college, see if there are things around the home that you can send with them instead of buying (such as extra towels or simple kitchen supplies). Also find out exactly how much space the student will have and what the school supplies for them (you don't want to purchase a mini-fridge if the school offers them or if there won't be room). Most colleges and universities will give new students advance notice of their first roommate(s). Have your child contact them. There's no need for all roommates to bring televisions, microwaves, or other large items that will be shared. They can split the costs, or each can bring what they already own.
About CareOne Credit Counseling Services
CareOne Credit Counseling Services is a service mark of 3C Incorporated. CareOne agencies are industry leaders committed to providing consumers with education and debt management services related to improving and maintaining their financial health. CareOne agencies have helped over 4.5 million people pay down debts through their solid relationships with over 220,000 creditors.
For more information about CareOne Credit Counseling Services, please visit http://www.CareOneCredit.com, or contact Clarky Davis at (410) 925-9769.
CareOne Credit Counseling Services
8930 Stanford Blvd.
Columbia, MD 21045
Phone: (410) 925-9769