Wallet-Friendly Tips for Back to School Shoppers

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Back to School Costs Increase, Shoppers to Shell Out More for Supplies

In less than a month, the dog days of summer will come to an abrupt end. Late nights will become early evenings, tan lines will fade, and the freedom of running around barefoot will be replaced with the strict confinement of pumps, platforms and wedges.

If you’ve recently made a trip to your local retailer you know that “Back to School” time is fast approaching. Whether you’re dreading it or thinking it can’t get here fast enough, the evidence is impossible to ignore. School supplies are spilling out into the aisles and “Sale” signs are plastered from floor to ceiling.

Parents don’t let all the snazzy signs fool you…

No matter which way the retailers spin it, you will have to dig a little deeper into your wallet to pay for school supplies this year. In fact, you’ll probably spend about 6 percent more per kid. And, the older the kid, the more money you’ll spend.

The 2012 Huntington Backpack Index did a marvelous job of breaking down the average cost per student. The survey incorporates common supply list items, extracurricular activity equipment and school fees.

Here’s the breakdown:
• Elementary school costs per student rose 3.4 percent, from $530 to $548.
• Middle school costs per student rose 5.8 percent, from $684 to $724.
• High school costs per student rose 2.2 percent, from $1,093 to $1,117.

Maybe I don’t understand how quickly everything adds up because I’m not a parent, but these figures came as a total shock to me. Nearly $600 to send an elementary kid back to school!?! That’s insane.

Boggled by this information… I asked around. And let me tell you, if I had a million dollars for every time I heard “That’s it?” from parents I would probably be able to buy school supplies for half the country.

Tips for Back to School Shoppers

If you’re one of the parents taking part in the back to school shopping madness, wikiHow has some great money savings tips to consider before packing up the kids and heading out the door.

Here’s some of them:
Stick to the school’s list of required supplies.
Contact the school, or look at their official website if you do not receive a copy. Many schools now provide a downloadable list straight from their website.
Recycle and reuse where possible.
Before you even consider shopping, see what you already have. Consider reusing and recycling where possible.
Browse through a variety of dollar stores, department stores, stationery stores, and large stores, for the best deals on pencils, pens, notebooks, and other items.

Credit Friendly Spending Tips

With costs on the rise, back to school spending sprees can quickly add up. If you’re one of those people who pull out the plastic instead of cash, you need to make sure your spending habits don’t end up leaving a nasty bruise on your credit report.

Check out these credit tips from Quizzle:
Pay your bills on time.
Seems like a no-brainer, but this really makes the biggest difference in your credit score.
Quizzle Tip: Sign up for automatic bill pay whenever you can.

Pay off debt.
Be sure to pay off your debt instead of just moving the balances to other open accounts. This behavior could result in a lower score. Something else to keep in mind, the amount of debt you have racked up on your credit cards can also affect your credit score.

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Krystal lives, works, and plays in the Detroit area and loves covering a variety of personal finance topics for the Quizzle Wire.