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Back-to-school shopping shouldn’t break the bank

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Target)

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Target)

Back-to-school retail specials now run all summer long and, while kids may not want to think about summer’s end, smart parents can take advantage of all the deals to save money and send their children to school with everything they need.

According to the National Retail Federation, nearly a quarter of families start shopping for school supplies two months before school starts. That means retail stores are putting their best foot forward all summer long. The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for consumers to take advantage of all the savings possible:

Create a budget. A budget will help shape your shopping list and help limit purchases to only items you need. Knowing your budget will also allow you to put money towards larger items or a special purchase.

Create a shopping list. Make a list by child or by store to avoid multiple trips. Clearpoint Credit Counseling Solutions suggests starting by shopping at home for items you may have left over from last year.

Research major purchases. When shopping for laptops, calculators, dorm refrigerators and other large purchases, do your homework. Research the brands you’re looking for to see what meets your expectations.

Check for educational discounts. Some computer and software companies offer discounts to students and teachers with .edu email addresses.

Don’t miss sales. Compare prices between different retail stores, save coupons and be sure to redeem cash-back or rebate offers. Sign-up for email alerts and download shopping apps for your favorite stores (RetailMeNot is one popular coupon and discount app).

Buy in bulk. Some schools ask parents to buy items that will be used by the entire class (tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.). Get together with other parents to shop in bulk. Parents of college students can also buy in bulk for snacks, toiletries and other items for future “care packages.”

Save your receipts. You’ll need them if you want to make an exchange or return an item. Remember some items are non-refundable or have a 30-day return period.

About Kirsten Yovino

Kirsten Yovino is a Milwaukee-area resident and co-owner of brewcityparent.com.

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