"Four in five people participating in the survey said that the economy will affect their back-to-school spending," noted Courtney Cordero, director of education and community development for the nonprofit American Debt Counseling that works with families to balance their budgets. "There are ways to outfit everyone for the new school year without going into debt."
The survey projected that total back-to-school spending across the nation, including for college students, will reach $68.8 billion this year. Cordero offers the following tips to save on back-to-school shopping.
• Stores will generally provide a list of supplies surrounding schools suggest. Starting off with that list or your own will cut down on impulse buying.
• Inquire with your student’s school if there are any local venues or programs that are giving away free or reduced-priced supplies. Save by rounding up supplies such as pens, notebooks and calculators you may already have.
• For high-priced items, such as laptops, consider getting an older model or used item. Buy electronic equipment with only the features that are needed.
• Buy plain notebooks which typically are more cost effective and let children make it uniquely their own with inexpensive stickers or a drawing. Recycle and reinvent backpacks and lunchboxes with zipper pulls or patches.
• Teenagers are projected to spend an average of $31.64 of their own money and pre-teens will kick in an average of $15.12. Create a budget and share it with older children and perhaps offer to split savings if your shopping comes in under budget.
• More than one-third of the states are offering sales tax-free shopping days on items such as clothing and supplies this summer.
• One pair of stylish $60 jeans may be worn more often than three pairs of $20 jeans kept in the closet. Be careful that items aren’t so trendy they can't be worn when the fad is over.
• Go through your child's wardrobe and discuss what new pieces are needed and what can be dressed up with a new top. Thrift stores offer bargains on belts, purses and accessories.
• Some consignment stores offer uniforms and families can also create "swap meets" to exchange uniform items among each other as children change sizes.
• Resist buying a full wardrobe: children will have new wants after seeing what everyone is wearing at schools and there are holiday sale days ahead when you can save filling out the wardrobe.
For more money-saving tips visit www.americandebtcounseling.org and www.getdebthelp.org, or follow American Debt Counseling on Facebook and Twitter @myadc. For a free budget review and confidential credit counseling call 888-DEBT-USA.
American Debt Counseling
Based in Sunrise, Fla., American Debt Counseling, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization providing financial education programs as well as confidential and professional certified credit counseling and debt management services across the nation. American Debt Counseling, Inc. is BSI registered and a member of the Association of Credit Counseling Professionals.
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American Debt Counseling, a national nonprofit credit counseling firm, provides free certified credit counseling and low-cost debt management. For a free customized spending plan call 1-888-DEBT-USA or click www.americandebtcounseling.org.