| August 12, 2009

Back-to-School Shopping Costs Up But Parents Plan to Spend Less

Consolidated Credit Offers Tips On Saving Money

Many families are looking to cut back on back-to-school shopping because of debt problems; however, a new survey shows that parents will be carrying a bigger financial burden this year. Consolidated Credit offers shopping tips to help parents stretch those back-to-school budgets.

According to the survey conducted from America’s Research Group and UBS Global Equity Research, 34.4 percent of responding parents said they plan on spending less money on back-to-school items. One factor cited by respondents is dealing with debt problems, with 40.5 percent saying they have higher debt. 41.8 percent of surveyed parents say they have less money and 8.2 percent are cutting back on spending for fear of a job loss.

The Backpack Index was created in 2006 by Columbus-based Huntington to give parents an early warning on the upcoming costs of education. The expected back-to-school expenses are $473 for parents of elementary school children, $536 for middle school students, and nearly $1,000 for high school students.

To prevent your family budget from being exhausted, prepare a shopping checklist of needed school items and establish a back-to-school budget before you go shopping. A back to school budget enables parents to set a good financial example for children. It’s an excellent opportunity to teach young people about the importance of paying attention to prices, controlling spending and knowing the difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants.’

Consolidated Credit’s back to school budgeting tips:

  • Let kids pay for items with their own money. If your fashion-con¬scious son or daughter wants a pair of pricey jeans, you might offer to pay up to the cost of a less expensive, non-brand pair and let him or her pay the difference.
  • Consider going in with another family to buy bulk quanti¬ties. By shopping at warehouse stores with two or three families can cut costs.
  • Don”t buy for the sake of buying and reuse school supplies from the previous year.
  • Determine needs by discussing needs and wants. Decide what is essential for a successful school year ahead and what can wait.
  • Dare to compare and fend off impulse shopping. Check a few retailers for the best prices prior to purchasing your back to school supplies.
  • Shop online retailer sites as they often have incentives that will save you a lot of money. Incentives can include free shipping, manufacturer discounts, e-coupons, 2-for-1 deals and more.
  • Use in-store rebate coupons that are redeemable at time of purchase.
  • Many retailers need to clear shelf space and offer big clearance discounts on many items.
  • Use cash, not credit to avoid accumulating unnecessary debt.
  • Keep track and hold onto all receipts. Check off what you have already purchased and if you need to return something, you are covered.

Whatever consumers do they need to avoid temptation and leave the kids at home when they do their back-to-school shopping. Parents will get through the store a lot faster without the kids. Consumers need to avoid credit cards. If someone charges $548.72 on a credit card with a 14.99 percent APR and only makes the minimum payments of $15 per month, it is going to take them four years and one month to pay off that back-to-school purchase. They will end-up paying $176.57 in interest.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

"We are really proud to recommend Consolidated Credit" Kathleen Cannon, President & CEO of United Way of Broward County. Consolidated Credit Counseling Services, Inc. is pleased to announce our partnership with the United Way as a United Way Chairman’s Circle Organization.

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