Don't Waste Your Money: Ways to save on back-to-school shopping - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Don't Waste Your Money: Ways to save on back-to-school shopping

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(Toledo News Now) - Hopes for big improvements in the economy this year have faded the past couple of months. Shoppers cut back their spending in May and June, and summer doesn't look much better.

But that's good news for back-to-school shoppers, who are already finding some great deals this year.

Shoppers Hope To Keep Spending Down

Ellen Kelly and her kids are going from store to store to find the best deals.

"We'll go to Target, Walmart, Staples and maybe buy some things through school," Kelly said.

Kelly, like a lot of moms, is watching the budget very closely this year. 
    
Surveys say the average family with two kids will spend $600 this year on back to school items. To trim those costs, we turned to seasoned mommy blogger Andrea Deckard of Savings Lifestyle.

Make A List, Check It Twice

Deckard's first tip: Know exactly what you need from the school's list. Then, don't be lured off that list by higher-priced character merchandise.

"The character notebooks, the characters, especially Justin Bieber, all these different celebrities, on the notebooks, those are back in fashion," said Deckard. 
    
Those notebooks and backpacks can be twice the price so Deckard suggests limiting the kids to just one.

Find Weekly Sales

Another tip: Grab the Sunday newspaper for weekly coupons and shop with those. Sales vary from week to week, and Deckard says many shoppers make the mistake of buying everything at once to save time. It's quicker, but costlier.

Where are the deals?

Deckard says no single store is cheapest on everything.

"Walmart has higher prices on a few things," Deckard said. "But Target has higher prices on a few different things."
    
She says Staples is great for weekly penny deals, but warns that other items there can be pricier.

"They have some great deals each week, where they list some items for a penny. But those are limited quantities," explained Deckard. 

Use Price Scanning App

For more expensive items over $15 or $20, like backpacks, Deckard suggests using a price-scanning smart phone application, such as Red Laser or Shop Savvy.

"It gives us a list of all the different places online that have that product," said Deckard.

A Dymo label maker that she scanned with her iPhone ranged from $25 down to $17, depending where you buy it.

Wait On Winter 
    
Deckard said to refrain from buying fall and winter clothing because most of it's not on sale now, and summer clothes are fine for September.

She says not to forget Old Navy, Walgreens, Michael's, and even dollar stores, which can be much cheaper on many "basics."

Deckard lists many of the weekly deals on her blog.

So how will this back-to-school season turn out? It's impossible to say right now, but with retailers worried, they're going to be cutting prices. So you don't waste your money.   

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