Ways to Make Back to School Shopping Happy and Frugal

Summer is winding down and the school season has arrived. Whether it’s for new clothes, backpacks, technology or books, the back to school season is one where there is a ton of shopping. Furthermore, no one ever wants to disappoint their children, so this is a time when you can really break the bank without even realizing it. If you are stressing about how you can frugally (and happily) get your kids back to school, keep reading!

1. Check Out Bargains All Year

Stocking up is always a great way to save money, and back to school supplies are no different. Throughout the year, school supplies are constantly sold at a discount. If you spend some time to stock up when things are on sale, all you need to do is bring those supplies out in August and give them to your kids.

2. The Dollar Store is Your Friend

This is one of the best kept back to school shopping secrets. A lot of the time, you can even find name brand merchandise for a dollar. Don’t underestimate hitting up your local dollar store before you shop for school supplies anywhere else.

3. Do Everything Online

Shopping online is convenient and frugal. Not only can you buy things for less, it also gets delivered to your door. Plus, many merchants offer free shipping too (depending on what you spend). If you plan in advance, this is probably the easiest way to shop.

4. Shop Late

There are always last minute deals and back to school time is no different. If you can wait on the items you need to buy, you might just be rewarded.

5. Shop Alone

Kids can be amazingly talented at wanting more than you can afford. In order to resist the temptation to satisfy them, shop alone. This way, they won’t be tempted by all the advertising in the stores and you can zip through and buy only what you actually need.

6. Shop Around

Sound shopping advice tells us to always compare prices. You can most likely find a place where the item you’re looking for is being sold for less, so be sure to check all sources first.

7. Second Hand is Not Second Class

Go to garage sales and see if you can pick up items for less. You just might find something very useful for the school year.  Another idea is to organize a back to school exchange program.  Do you live in a neighborhood with a lot of kids? Get all the parents on board and list out available items and see if other parents can take advantage of what someone else bought previously and is no longer using. If you can work out a deal where you can all trade amongst each other, it’s a win-win situation.

If you need additional help paying for back to school supplies and clothing, First Financial offers some of the lowest credit card rates around. To learn more about First Financial’s VISA® Credit Cards and apply today, please visit our credit cards page.*

*APR varies up to 18% when you open your account based on your credit worthiness. These APRs are for purchases, balance transfers, and cash advances and will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Subject to credit approval. Rates quoted assume excellent borrower credit history. Your actual APR may vary based on your state of residence, approved loan amount, applicable discounts and your credit history. No Annual Fees. Other fees that apply: Cash advance fee of 1% of advance ($5 minimum and $25 maximum), Late Payment Fee of up to $25, Foreign Transaction Fee of 1% plus foreign exchange rate of transaction amount, $5 Card Replacement Fee, and Returned Payment Fee of up to $25. A First Financial membership is required to obtain a VISA Credit Card and is available to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Monmouth or Ocean Counties.

Article Source: David Ning for Moneyning.com

Beat the Back to School Spending Blues

Back to school can be time consuming and expensive. There’s filling out endless online and paper forms, buying school supplies, and shopping for clothes while guessing how much the kids will grow by spring.

National Retail Federation data found that electronics and clothing make up nearly two-thirds of a family’s back to school spending. The biggest break is found in school supplies, where consumers can expect to shell out $122 for basics like pencils, pens, markers and notebooks.

The easiest way to fund school on a budget, is to slowly stockpile throughout the year (hello Target dollar bins). If it’s too late for this year, here are a few ways you can still save.

Pace yourself: According to RetailMeNot.com, 62% of shoppers who do their back to school shopping before August spend about $100 more than those who wait until later. Do your research and find opportunities to put off buying everything at once, especially those high-ticket items like electronics and clothing. Consumer Reports suggests waiting until September or October to replace laptops or tablets, and that waiting until the fall is when these items are often on sale – which could save you big money.

Look for deals: It’s never been easier to find good deals and comparison shop. Check out the Groupon back to school discount tab or sites like RetailMeNot.com for coupons. Other websites like BensBargains.com, or apps like ShopSavvy and CamelCamelCamel can keep you updated on the latest deals on particular items, helping you track when an item is at its lowest price – whether on Amazon or at your local retail store.

Look for delivery options: Your child’s school may partner with an organization that sells school supplies at a flat price. Teachers provide the list, the company packages the supplies, and the best part? Your child’s box is waiting for them in their classroom on the first day of school. Talk about a time saver! Some stores like Target offer School List Assist, where parents can enter their zip code find their school and class supply list, order items and either have them delivered to their door, curbside at a nearby Target location, or for pick-up in the store.

Back to school doesn’t have to break the bank – just remember to try to plan ahead and look for deals (even if it means waiting for some things until September).

Article Source: Myriam DiGiovanni for financialfeed.com