Connecticut BBB Offers Tips to Save Money on Back-to-School Purchases by Shopping Smart

Many retailers offer back-to-school specials and coupons to entice shoppers, however, BBB recommends avoid purchasing items you don’t immediately need to help avoid breaking your budget.

Connecticut’s Tax-Free Shopping Week Starts August 19th and can Help You Keep Your Budget on Target

Connecticut consumers shopping for back-to-school supplies can take advantage of the state’s tax-free week, which runs next Monday, August 13th through Saturday, August 25, 2012.   The Connecticut tax holiday suspends sales tax from most clothing and footwear, up to a maximum of $300.

According to the National Retail Federation, parents will be shopping carefully and making special efforts to save on supplies this school year.  31% of families say they will do comparative shopping online (compared to 29.8% last year), and they will use more coupons (38.7% vs. 36.9%), and cut back on extracurricular activities or sports (14.3% vs. 10.2%).

Many retailers offer back-to-school specials and coupons to entice shoppers, however, BBB recommends delaying the purchase of items you don't need immediately.
Take inventory - There’s always that endless supply of markers, crayons and notebooks around the house.  Reusing these can save hundreds of dollars over the years.

Look for the deals - Some retailers’ back-to-school specials are available for online and in-store purchase.  Make sure to check out your local newspaper for deals.  Many retailers will put ads showcasing the special buy-one-get-one-free deals, and even couple items like lunchboxes with backpacks to lure customers. 

Set a budget - Decide how much you are willing to spend per child.  After taking inventory, create a shopping list and stick to it. This will help you avoid costly impulse purchases and ensure nothing is forgotten.

Know what your child's school allows - Schools will often provide parents with a list of required items for the school year, which can help determine what you need to purchase.  These lists are also available at many retail stores and on school websites.  Additionally, many schools have specific dress codes, so keep these restrictions in mind before spending money on clothes the school may not allow.

Check for refund and exchange policies - Be sure you can exchange or return items purchased during this time period.  Keep in mind some items may be non-refundable or have restocking fees associated with a return.

More details on the Connecticut tax holiday week are available through the Department of Revenue Services website, which explains what items are exempt.

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit http://ct.bbb.org/Consumer-Tips.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mari Jurczyk August 14, 2012 at 02:57 PM
No, it's 8/19 - 8/25/12.
James Bond August 14, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Also,before purchasing clothing check the schools handbook to see what type of clothing is deemed inappropriate.Some commercials show kids with hoodies,hats and sun-glasses which in many schools are no-nos.Hopefully this will save some headaches down the road.
CA August 14, 2012 at 08:21 PM
It would be a lot easier on children's backs if each class did not have to have a 3 ring binder. My middle school child last year had to have a 3 ring binder for each class. Wouldn't it be easier to have folders and spiral notebooks. Such as 3-5 subject notebooks?
James Bond August 14, 2012 at 09:39 PM
CA,how about some of these text books? Its like carrying around a bag of rocks all day.
CA August 14, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Unfortunately, due to the amt of 3 ring binders in the back packs, my child had to carry the books home.


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