Entries in Back to School (5)


Plan Ahead to Avoid Over-Spending on Back to School Supplies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Back to school spending is expected to be higher than last year.  The retail industry says it's the second biggest event of the year for shopping.

If you haven't already gone out to buy the latest school supplies, you may want to lay out a strategy before heading to the store.

"The first thing that we recommend is for people to put some sort of a budget or a spending plan together," says Dave Jones of the Association of Independent Credit Counseling Agencies.

He says its always good to plan ahead on spending.

"Buy only the things on the spending plan.  Avoid buying things that are just what the child might see and want," Jones advises.

And shopping with your kids may be a learning opportunity for them.

"The younger you can start to train your children about how to use money wisely, the better," he notes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nine Early Online Back to School Deals Revealed

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- This year, parents will spend an average of $688.82 on back-to-school gear, up from $603.63 in 2011.

“Backpacks rip, pencils break, and children grow, there’s no way around it, but as they begin tackling their shopping lists, parents will make sure to spend smarter than they ever have before,” said National Retail Federation President Mathew Shay. “We fully expect retailers to be aggressive with their promotions both in-store and online, keeping an eye on inventory levels as families look to spread out their shopping throughout the entire summer.”

With talk about slapping sales tax on all online purchases soon heating up on the Hill, we scoured the Web to create a list of back-to-school deals. Here’s what we found:

Clothing & Supplies

A box of 96 Dixon Ticoderoga #2 pencils is on sale for $14.99 on Amazon at a savings of more than 50 percent.

Walmart has white blouses that work well with school uniforms at $5, down 50 percent from its original price of $10. For consumers that spend $45, shipping is available for free.

Kmart has shaved up to 30 percent from its Juniors and girls and boys clothing lines. To lure online shoppers, the website is offering shipping at a flat rate of $5.

Dealsnews brought the Altrec Back to School sale to our attention. The website is selling a yellow North Face Verto 26 Backpack for $51.69, one of the lowest prices on the web, according to Dealnews.


Apple is offering a $100 gift card that can be used to purchase apps and books for students that purchase a MAC between June 11 and September 11.

In addition to an assortment of laptops for sale, Dell is having a students-only sale that allows consumers to receive a free Xbox or $200 e-gift card with the purchase of select computers.


Since July 11, as a part of its back-to-school promotion, T-Mobile is offering customers who purchase a Samsung Galaxy 4G device a second select Samsung Galaxy 4G smartphone for free. The deal ends on Tuesday, September 4. shaved more than 20 percent off the Texas Instrument Graphics Calculator. In an effort to prepare students for the school year, the company launched Walmart Classrooms to help parents and teachers to connect and create a list of necessary school supplies.

In an effort to lure back to school shoppers, Barnes and Noble is offering a $50 gift card to consumers that purchase a Nook Tablet. The deal is good through July 29.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Back-to-School Sales Hitting Stores Early

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- School may be out for the summer, and while the fall semester is still months away, that isn't stopping stores from launching back-to-school sales.

Economist Burt Flickinger says many retailers suffered a sales slump in April and May, and have decided to launch back-to-school sales to try and grab some of the $87 billion that are expected to be spent on school supplies this year.

Flickinger says parents may not spend money on themselves, especially in a sluggish economy, but they will always spend money for their children.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Five Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- School is starting soon, and you know it costs money for children to be prepared with books, clothes, supplies and the just the right backpack. The National Federation of Retailers expects that parents will spend about $600 to get their children ready for school -- nothing to sneeze at in this economy.

ABC News financial contributor Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, offers these tips to help you save money as you shop for back to school. Of course, you should always shop with a list -- and stick to it -- and look for rebates when you can. Here are five other tips from Mellody:

1. Shop Without the Kids: 
Shopping this way will decrease the urge to impulse shop. Every parent has been guilty of buying children toys they didn't need because they cried or begged, only to have them lose interest in it shortly after. Of course, the kids have to be there when you're shopping for clothes.

A special message for moms: don't let your husbands go back to school shopping unsupervised. A recent survey found that fathers planned to spend $39 more on average than their wives did.

2. Compare Prices in Newspapers: 
Back to school is worth $69 billion to retailers, and to them, the season is second only to the holidays in terms of making money -- so they're competing for your cash, and you can really save if you shop around. The easiest, low-tech way to do this is to look at the advertisements section of your newspaper and compare prices. The Internet, though, is where comparison shopping really pays off. Sites such as, and all can help you comparison shop with a few clicks of your mouse, and they also give you user ratings on products.

But before you click the "purchase" button, however, consider calling local retailers to ask about price matching. You might be surprised at the number of local stores that would love to have your business. Don't forget to look for free shipping offers when you're shopping online. If you're shopping for your college-aged kids, have the item shipped to their campus address so they don't have to pay extra to ship it from home to their dorm rooms.

3. Use Your Smartphones:  Nearly 75 million Americans now have smartphones. Retailers understand the importance of these devices, and are specifically targeting shoppers who use them. The Google Shopper app allows people to scan a product's bar code, and shows the prices for that same product at various stores in your area. Retailers also have their own apps. When you download the Best Buy Shopkick app, you will be notified of discounts of 10 to 15 percent off certain items when you enter a store.

And if you text JCP365, you will receive JCPenney's mobile back to school coupons.

4. Don't Forget About Facebook: 
People spend 700 billion minutes per month on the global social networking site, and retailers realize that, so they are running promotions on the site. Target has launched a back to school college promotion called "1,000 Likes," in which, through August 31, it will feature deals on its Facebook site. The first 1,000 people to "like" the promotion will get an online coupon for 40 to 50 percent off the item.

5. Take Advantage of Tax-Free Holidays:  Even though states are hurting for tax dollars, 17 states are offering tax-free holidays this year. Most tax-free holidays have already passed. You're still in luck, though, if you live in the following states:

  • Connecticut: save 6.35 percent, Aug. 21 to 27;  Maryland, save 6 percent, August 14 to 20;  Texas, save 6.25 percent, August 19 to 21.
  • If you live in New York, you're even luckier. The state will not be collecting state taxes (4 percent) on any clothing or shoe items costing less than $55, through March 31, 2012.

Bear in mind that the holiday applies only to the state's sales tax, so city and/or country sales taxes may still apply. Details vary by state, so check with your state's department of revenue website.

If your state doesn't offer a sales tax holiday, consider crossing the border to one that does, or think about going to one of the five states -- Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon -- that have no sales tax year-round. The saving may make the trip worthwhile.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Back to School: How Not to Pay Full Price

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It's almost time for kids to go back to school, and that means parents will be getting ready to shell out big bucks to get their children ready for the upcoming academic year.

In fact, the average parent spends about $600 per child.

So how can parents save money on back to school items?  One suggestion is to buy used when possible.

School Supplies

When it comes to supplies -- pencils, pens, scissors and binders -- there are very few places that have all these items used, so you should buy new.  But that doesn't mean you have to pay full price.

The latest trend in back to school bargains is to shop for basics at dollar stores.


This is a tough one, because back to school shopping is a tradition and it gets kids a little excited about the prospect of returning to class.  But it can get expensive.  You should buy new and buy used.

First, get some basic second-hand pieces.  Of course, trying to hit garage sales can be time-consuming.  If you have a smartphone, check out this new app called iGarageSale.  It lets you search garage sales listed on Craigslist by the type of item you're looking for.  The app knows your location, and maps out all the local sales that match your search.

But shopping in stores is a tradition, so set a budget with your kids and make it about finding those two or three special items that get your kids excited about going back to school.

Sports Equipment

Families spend hundreds of dollars per child, per sport, on athletic equipment.  And kids grow out of it fast.

One option is to shop on eBay, but it's hard to get a good fit and feel for equipment.  A better option is to find a used sporting goods store, such as Play It Again Sports.  This chain has hundreds of locations and you can find lots of items for a fraction of the cost.

So, for sports equipment, you should buy used -- but with one exception: You should always buy helmets new.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio