Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Whenever I think of back to school time, I think of that Staple's commercial where the Dad is running around throwing school supplies into a shopping cart with a huge smile and the kids are looking forlorn dragging their feet behind him. The National Retail Federation estimates that back to school spending will top 18 billion dollars this year. So as we slowly approach the first day of school, here are some shopping tips and please share your own as well!

Shop tax free: The following states offer no state taxes a few days this month for back to school shopping. Delaware has no state tax year round.
Connecticut, August 19-25
Florida, August 4-13
Texas, August 17-19
Washington, DC, August 4-12

Make a list, check it twice
Only buy what you really need. This may mean leaving the kids at home while you shop. If they have a tendency to ask for items ("But I really neeeeed a new backpack!"), get a sitter and go out on your own. Don't forget what you already have either. Leftover notebooks from last school year that only had 10 pages used? They still have 170 good pages left! Last year's lunchbox in good shape? Fantastic.

Cash Money
Leave the credit card or debit card at home. Yes it is convenient, but studies have shown that people spend more when they pay with plastic. Withdraw the exact amount you want to spend, when you run out of cash- go home.

Bulk Savings
If you are a member of Sam's Club or Costco, you already know how stocking up in bulk can be a money saver. But what if you aren't a member? Consider shopping with a friend or family member who is, or split a membership with another moms or two.

Internet Wonders
Not only can you find coupons online, but if it is books you are looking for there are lots of resources. Get textbooks at eBay's half.com at www.half.ebay.com. Comparison shop at pricegrabber.com and find discounted merchandise at overstock.com. Don't forget craigslist.com for used items in your area such as clothing, and school uniforms a size too small.

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