Simple tips to help parents save on back-to-school shopping

With August right around the corner, most kids are about a month away from returning to school, which means parents all over the country will begin to shop for clothes and supplies. 

In order to prevent back-to-school shopping from leaving them with a pile of credit card debt, parents should do their best to save.

1. Shop toward the end of summer: While it might be tempting to get all shopping out of the way in late July or early August, some of the best deals can be had closer to the start of the school year. At this time, retailers are looking to unload their back-to-school materials, which could mean significant discounts on notebooks, binders and even clothes. 

2. Stick to a list: No matter what type of shopping people do, the biggest mistake that leads to overspending is straying from their list. When back-to-school shopping, parents need to do their best to avoid impulse purchases. Just because there are cool, colorful folders, doesn't mean they are better than the generic ones that are much cheaper. Oftentimes, these buys are egged on by children who see something they want in the store, so it might be best to leave them at home. 

3. Look around the house: In some cases, many of the items kids need for the new school year can be found at home. For instance, there is a good chance pens, pencils and other supplies don't need to be purchased, which can help people save money. Additionally, parents should make their children use notebooks and binders from the previous year, as there is no reason to buy new supplies just to do so. Unless their kids have grown, clothes purchases can be kept to a minimum as well. 

4. Buy bright supplies: For most parents, school shopping doesn't end in late August as their children tend to lose items throughout the year. One possible way to prevent this is to buy items that are bright and easy to spot. For example, purchasing a yellow pencil pouch could be a good way to keep pencils and erasers from disappearing. Of course, this won't work for everyone, so it would be wise to tell kids that they need to do everything they can to not lose their pens and notebooks during the school year. 

April Lewis-Parks has more than 15 years of experience in the financial sector, she is a certified financial counselor, and a consumer affairs advocate. As the director of education and public relations for Consolidated Credit she is dedicated to generating awareness about personal finance issues and acts as their consumer affairs advocate. As host the of, she promotes financial education and offers timely and informative personal finance articles to educate the public.

April’s promotional efforts can be seen in past issues of the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsday, Consumer Reports, the Business Journals, Money Magazine, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Family Circle, among others.

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