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Back to school shopping tips

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Getting ready for back to school? The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana advises you to be smart when purchasing supplies.
In 2012, $83.8 billion dollars were spent on back-to-school shopping in the U.S., according to the National Retail Federation. That breaks down to the average person spending around $688.62 on their children in grades Kindergarten to 12.
Before you dive into buying new clothes and supplies, check out these back-to-school budget tips:
•Make a shopping list. If you don’t know the exact school supply list, you should get an idea of school clothing and other school needs. Make a list for each child, but start by “shopping at home” for items that you may already have left over from last year. For some items, it’s worth spending a bit more (a high quality backpack will last for years).
•Create a budget. Do a quick price search online for the items on your list and add them all up. Be sure to clip coupons, and make note of expiration dates, discount codes and any cash-back or rebate programs. If your goal is to reduce spending, now is the time to decide how much you want to cut.
•Set up email alerts at your favorite stores. Monitoring pricing early on is key to finding good deals on quality products. Many sites will have an informed community of savvy shoppers on their blog or in their forums who willingly share deals, exclusive coupons, rebates and insider information on where and when to find the best prices, popular models and links to helpful resources. These alerts will ensure you don’t miss out on the hottest, and/or limited, opportunities.
•Take advantage of discounts. Many stores offer student and teacher discounts on hot items like laptops and uniforms. Retailers will be trying to make room for fall fashion and the newest models, so there are incredible savings to be had on older items.
•Research companies before you do business with them at bbb.org.
•Shop tax-free. Some states; Louisiana included, offer a tax-free holiday specifically for the back-to-school shopping rush in August. Check out:revenue.louisiana.gov/sections/general/hottopics/salestaxholiday.aspx,
•Check with the Better Business Bureau before doing business. BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.
Better Business Bureau of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin and Vermilion.

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