Six Back-to-School Shopping Traps to Avoid

Posted on 08/18/2010

The National Retail Federation predicts back-to-school shopping will grow by about ten percent this year. Want to try to avoid that increase in your household? If you’re trying to stick to a budget for your back-to-school shopping here are six traps to avoid.

Buying Stuff You Already Have
Take inventory of the school supplies you already have in your home. Sure, it’s nice to have shiny new notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils, but you can probably save some money off your back-to-school shopping budget by rounding up supplies you already have.

Straying from the List
Schools do a nice service by giving you a list of necessities. So you may as well stick to that list. If you end up buying items Junior doesn’t need you’re just wasting money.

Buying What Others are Willing to Give
Lots of moms out there probably have more school supplies than they need. Consider swapping with them through websites like Peruse local listings and see if anyone is willing to hand over some school supplies for free.

Paying Taxes on School Supplies
This one doesn’t apply to everyone, but for residents of about 20 states you may not have to pay tax on those school supplies. Check out the details of the sales tax holidays in your area provided by the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Not Comparison Shopping
Every week running up to the start of school retailers try to lure in shoppers with notebooks that cost a penny and glue sticks for a nickel. Taking advantage of these door busters is a great idea, but running from store to store can be a pain. is a good resource. The weekly ads are all in one place so you can see who has the best deal on the products you need.

Not Using Price Matching Policies
Stores like Staples, Target, and Wal-Mart all have price matching policies. This can cut down on the amount of places you need to visit. Simply bring in the most recent ad showing the sale price of the school supplies you’re interested in. Stores that price match will meet their competitors’ prices. This means you can often get the best deals all in one place.

By Alison Storm

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