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Smart Shopper: Back-to-school ways to save

Posted at 7:55 AM, Aug 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-09 07:55:54-04

Seems like kids just put their backpacks away for the summer and the time is quickly approaching to get them back out. Did you know that on average, according to a recent study by Deloitte, a family will spend about $510 on back-to-school essentials? That's upwards of half of some people's mortgage and a good chunk of one month's rent.

The Better Business Bureau Serving West Michigan passed along some helpful, smart shopping tips and I have included a couple of my own.

1.) Make a list: Sure, you can wait for the list to come out of what kids will need or just start your own until you get one. Stick to your list and do not impulse buy.

2.) Shop your home: Chances are you might already have some of the basics to get them through the first few weeks, right in your home. Don't want to look yourself? I suggest making it a scavenger hunt. Kids love a good competition.

3.) Research big-ticket items: Before you drop coin on everything from a laptop to dorm refrigerator, do some online research or have your student do it for you. Research the brands, warranty, customer reviews and the prices at various stores. You can check out the retailers reputation by logging onto

4.) Look for the sales: Compare prices between major retailers, save your coupons, sign up for email alerts and redeem any cash-back or rebate offers. A great online resource that I love to compare prices is and it's also an app.

5.) Ask for student discounts: Did you realize that many stores and companies offer discounts for students that have an .edu email address or student ID? Even if the discount isn't advertised, never hurts to ask. I found roughly retailers by going to

6.) Shop in bulk: Perhaps you can talk with other families to see if you can split bulk supplies.

If you prefer to shop online, click here for tips from the BBB.

Now for a couple of my tips:

1.) Think thrift first: Before you hit up major retailers for name brands, hit up the MANY local thrift stores. Places such as New 2 You is holding a 50 percent off clothing sale through Aug. 10. Then, from Aug. 11 thru 13, all clothing is just $1!

2.) Clothing/gear/supply swap: Are you close with some families who have kids with the same gender as yours but different sizes? Arrange to do a fun swap night which includes anything school related from shoes and shirts to sports gear and backpacks.

Do you have any ways that you went about saving money for back-to-school? Email me at