NEW YORK (WABC) — It’s hard to believe, but we’re in the thick of the back-to-school shopping season.
The National Retail Federation predicts this year will be the most expensive ever for parents with overall spending expected to top $135 billion, that’s up $24 billion from last year.
“Back-to-school supplies cost 20% more than they did just a couple of years ago,” said Andrea Woroch, a money-saving expert.
As a mom of two, Woroch back-to-school shops at home first, seeing what her girls have left over from last year before buying new.
“I thought I’d have to spend $100 on polo shirts and dresses, but we’re actually OK and that’ll get us at least through winter,” Woroch said.
When it comes to the more expensive items like laptops, phones, tablets, and printers, search for refurbished options. Walmart, BestBuy, Apple, and Amazon all offer preowned tech for a lot less.
“All these stores have certified and refurbished, they come with a warranty and a money-back guarantee, and that can save you up to 60%,” Woroch said.
Next, don’t miss out on savings. Back-to-school sales are heating up and spending a little bit of time shopping around can help you save more.
Apps like ShopSavvy provide instant price comparison right on your phone.
The Flip App will let you know where things are cheaper.
Fetch rewards helps find coupons too.
“Fetch is a free cash-back app. You take pictures of all your receipts gas, groceries,” Woroch said.
There’s also a website called Swoondle Society. This is a site where you can swap for clothing. They send you a bag, a prepaid shipping label, and you fill up with your kids’ clothing that doesn’t fit.
Hit up Sideline Swap for gently used sports equipment before dropping hundreds on cleats and gear kids will outgrow in a season.
Don’t forget to sign up for free loyalty programs which reward customers with plenty of perks.
“They’re giving you cash back these days and you can use that money strategically to save on school supplies,” Woroch said.
You know you can save a lot of money on back-to-school shopping by shopping at a time when there are no taxes.
Many states offer tax-free holidays to give students a break from taxes.
New Yorkers don’t get one but should shop in New Jersey from August 26 through September 4 or in Connecticut from August 20 to 26.
Computers under $3,000, electronics, printers, school supplies, art supplies, and recreational sports equipment won’t be taxed, so don’t let that old computer slow you down as you head back to school.
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