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:
Most retailers have dropped mask mandates, but some pharmacies or local stores may still have them. Supply chain issues could also impact shopping. When getting ready to shop, contact the store directly if you have questions about hours, policies, or to see if supplies are in stock.
Research big ticket items
Whether your children are learning in-person at school or online from home, technology has come to the forefront over the past two 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 another computer accessory, research the brands, warranty, customer reviews and prices at various stores to make sure the best deal can be had. Also, look up the retailer's reputation on BBB.org.
Shop smart with sales and tax-free weekends
Compare prices between different retail stores, save coupons, sign up for email alerts and redeem any cash-back or rebate offers. This will help get the best deals and stay within budget. Also, nearby states may have a tax-free weekend, enabling you to buy clothes, school supplies and other items without paying sales tax.
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, safely online
To read more, visit BBB’s Back to School HQ at BBB.org/all/back-to-school. If you spot a scam, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Whether you’ve lost money or not, your story could help others avoid a scam.