GOING back to school is a fun time for your kids. They get to reconnect with friends and teachers and show off their new threads. New back to school outfits and related supplies is big business this time of year. In fact, it’s the second largest spending season of the year and students from kindergarten to university in North America will spend over 70 billion on new clothes and supplies before heading back to class.
For many families this isn’t an easy price to pay especially if several kids need to be outfitted. There is also the odd scam to be aware of poised to take your hard earned cash.
BBB serving Mainland BC has some tips to help make the trip back to school an easy transition:
* Create a budget: Before you decide to hit the stores for back to school shopping, do a quick price search online so you don’t have to waste time comparing prices from store to store. Make sure to clip or print out coupons, review cash-back / rebate programs and note expiration dates.
* Make a list: This should help prevent impulse buys.
* Set up email alerts: Observing pricing early is key to finding deals on quality products. Retailers may have an informed community of savvy shoppers on the blogs or forums who share exclusive coupons, deals, and insider information. These alerts will help you not miss any hot back to school trends.
• Read the return policy – twice: We recommend that you keep all original packaging for supply items (cellophane, bubble wrap, boxes and all), bring your identification (many stores will need your ID to reverse the charge on your credit or debit card), keep all of your receipts and return/exchange the item(s) as soon as possible, seeing as many stores have a time frame in which shoppers can bring the items back.
• Online shopping: Make sure the websites you use are secure with ‘https://’ and the ‘lock’ icon in the url. Avoid impulse buys through pop-up ads. Use a trusted pay portal such as PayPal. Monitor your accounts for any transactions you did not approve.
• Beware of potential form fraud: With back-to-school shopping comes the filling out of forms for supplies, books, enrollment – you name it. While we can sometimes fall into an auto-haze of filling out information, be careful what information you provide to who. Additionally, keep a copy of the forms you turn in that have sensitive information.
• Social media scams: While we all love a good deal, be wary of back-to-school coupons and deals you see on social media. Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. These seemingly unbeatable deals are often just a ploy to collect personal information so be careful before you fill out any online form to receive a deal.