School shopping can be a teachable moment

As summer winds down, it’s time for back-to-school shopping. Here are some tips to help you save time and money.

  • Get the teacher-approved list. Many teachers have lists of items they want their students to have.
  • Take an inventory of clothing and supplies you already have. Then, set a budget and buy only what you need.
  • Involve your kids. Use school shopping as a way to teach your children about money, budgeting and organizing.
  • Use price comparison apps to help you check for the best available price in real time. Many of these apps use your phone’s camera to scan a product code. Then they search online databases to show you prices and information about similar products sold online or in stores.
  • Consider buying used or refurbished, whether it’s clothing, sporting equipment, electronics or musical instruments. Consignment and resale shops are a great place to find quality merchandise at deep discounts.
  • Take advantage of tax-free shopping. Many states offer tax-free shopping days in August. It can be a great time to save on clothing and school supplies.
  • Ask about refund and return policies, including sale items. Merchants often have different refund and return policies for sale items, especially clearance merchandise.
  • Save those receipts! When you’re shopping online, keep copies of your order number, the refund and return policies, shipping costs and warranties.

For more money management tips, visit Money & Credit.

This article by the FTC was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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