Back to School Shopping? Be Smart!

Contributed by FCFCU

The cost to go back to school keeps going up. The National Retail Federation recently estimated that the average American family will spend from $600-$1,000 on back-to-school supplies and clothes, and that’s only for an average high school student. College students (who often require more supplies like books and tools) may spend even more.

So the question is: How do you survive back to school shopping?

Whether your kids start kindergarten or head off to college, it’s possible to buy them everything they need without breaking your bank account. Here are some tips to help you become a smart back to school shopper this year.

Sweep Through Your Home. Round up all of the office and school supplies you already have and put them in a central location, like a plastic bin or on the dining room table, so you can make a list of what you have. Use this list to remind you what not to buy when you start shopping.

Shop at Garage Sales and Thrift Stores. A single garage sale may solve all of your back to school shopping needs. It can take time, but you can find real bargains this way. You’ll also find incredible savings at quality thrift stores. Many stores run sales specifically for parents shopping for back to school items.

Know Your Limits. Kids today love name brands. Let them know that companies should be paying them for advertising their products by wearing name-brand clothing. Show them the difference between a cheaply made trendy item of clothing, and a well-made item without a logo, and explain the difference in quality.

Save on College Supplies. Learn how to save money on college textbooks. Buy used textbooks when possible. Many college textbooks are now available digitally. Shop for dorm room essentials like rugs, decor, and light cooking equipment at garage sales and thrift stores. You can save a lot of money by buying used items.

Use Coupons. Be on the lookout for coupons all year. If you don’t want to drive all over, remember that many stores offer price and coupon matching.

Buy in Bulk. When pens, crayons, and glue go on sale in the late summer, buy enough to get you through the rest of the year. You might also want to check prices at wholesale stores.

Be better off. Fresno County Federal Credit Union helps members save with higher rates on savings and much lower rates on loans. They offer no monthly fee checking, free bill pay and mobile check deposit.

There’s never been a better time than now to join a credit union! Joining is a breeze, and moving your accounts is easier than ever. Visit Fresno County Federal Credit Union at or call (559) 252-5000 for more tips and tools.

CR Staff :