Preparation Can Lower Cost of Expensive Back-to-School Shopping
August 1, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Parents across Arkansas have been gearing up and saving money for back-to-school shopping, but supplies and clothes can be expensive, especially if parents do not take the time to price shop. From school supplies, to new gadgets and clothes, money quickly adds up.
“Back-to-school shopping can be stressful and financially straining for Arkansans,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “But taking the time to compare prices, taking advantage of the best deals and only buying the necessities can save a lot of money.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for parents who are back-to-school shopping:
- Stick to the teacher-approved school supply list. Do not waste time and money on unlisted, impulse items that may never be used.
- Research prices ahead of time. Use price comparison apps or websites to check best available prices in real time. Or shop end-of-summer sales. Also consider that many stores will price-match better deals from other retailers.
- Check school supply deals at supermarkets and scope out the office supply items before going to the back-to-school section. More items could be in stock for a better price.
- For larger, more expensive items like sports equipment, electronics or musical instruments, consider buying used or refurbished.
- Ask about and understand a store’s return policy, and recognize sometimes a box cannot be returned once it is opened.
- If shopping online, only purchase items on a secure website. Determine whether a website is secure by looking for a “lock” icon in a browser’s status bar and the letters “https” at the start of the website’s URL.
- Consider paying for online purchases with a credit card. Consumers are allowed under federal law to dispute those charges and cardholders may have no liability if a card is stolen fraudulently and used.
Some providers and companies offer student discounts on wireless service, cell phones, tablets and other electronics. Check with the provider to determine available discounts.
Arkansas’s sales tax holiday, which suspends state and local tax on certain school supplies and clothing, is Aug. 4 and 5.
According to the National Retail Federation, families spent nearly $84 billion in back-to-school and back-to-college spending last year. Meanwhile, they estimate $685 in spending per child in grades K-12.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.