|Trinity Newsletter: July 2015
card debt. If the student defaults, the bank takes the cash—so banks are left with little or no risk in making the secured loan. Lastly, parents could co-sign for a student’s credit card. While it helps to build the student’s credit the risk falls on parents—if the student doesn’t pay, parents’ are fully liable for the debts. Above all, parents need to know their options and work towards finding a card that works best for the student.
What is the benefit of students using debit cards? What is a secured card?
Tip of the Month:
To find more great Back-to-School savings deals visit Consumer Reports and DiscountSchoolSupply.com and find the latest consumer deals on electronics and other school supplies needs.
Tips for Back-to-School Savings
According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, parents will spend almost $670 to get one child ready for school this year. Between school supplies and clothes and shoes, the return to classes is expensive. To help you save on this year’s back-to-school expenses, here are a few tips to get you started.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Creating a budget is essential as you begin this year’s back-to-school shopping. While buying clothing, shoes, lunch boxes and backpacks allows for great flexibility, before purchasing these items determine how much you can afford to spend. Make a list of items needed and set a budget and stick to it.
A good way to make sure you stay within your budget is to use the envelope system and put the cash you’ve allotted for each child into separate envelopes. Using the envelope system provides an opportunity to teach kids how to budget by giving them a set clothing allowance so they can benefit from their own back-to-school savings. Obtain a budget at Practical Money Skills and set priorities for your back-to-school spending.
Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk will help minimize expenses and keep a steady supply of items throughout the year. Certain school supplies are used repeatedly over the course of the school year. Depending on your child’s age and classes they will use lots of pens, pencils, paper, notebooks, printer paper, flash drives, markers and paints. An additional outlay of cash now might not seem like back-to-school savings but you’ll have cheaper supplies on hand for several months if you buy in quantity. Many major retail stores offer bulk savings but to get you started visit Sam’s Club and Costco and check deals at Walmart.
Comparison Shop Online
Another way to minimize expenses is to comparison shop online. With many retailers offering back-to-school shopping deals, spending time online will help find deals and save you money. By following the brands you use and the stores you regularly shop at on Facebook and Twitter, as well as signing up on mailing lists, you can net you back-to-school savings. And some sites even do all the comparison shopping for you to find the best bargains. Find deals at a Passion for Savings, on online site that compares retail prices and allows you to set up email alerts for when the items you are looking for have a deal or a coupon that can be applied.
Choose a less Expensive Brand
Many schools provide a list of required school supplies. However, you can opt for less-expensive brands for items like pencils, folders, paper, and other supplies. And brand name clothing can quickly increase the total bill, so decide whether each item of clothing is worth the cost before purchasing. For example, a nice jacket may be worth the additional cost because your child will use it frequently, while t-shirts and other clothing may be similar in quality regardless of the brand name. The money saved by choosing store brands can be used to buy other needed items on your school list. Visit Bizrate.com to findings on name-brand clothing.
Head to the Supermarket for Basic Supplies
Your local supermarket may provide other deals on your back-to-school list. Check weekly circulars for great deals on pens and loose-leaf paper and look for deals on food items to help minimize lunch expenses. Check your local paper for the latest back-to-school sales. To help you find savings at your local stores, visit Red Plum and download coupons that can be used at all major retail stores.
Score savings with Coupons
Coupons are offered in many varieties including newspaper ads, web-based coupons, or apps offering downloadable ads. When you’re shopping in a store, you can use a free app such as Coupon Sherpa to download in-store coupons to an iPhone or Android phone. Sign up for customer loyalty programs at your favorite stores and watch for members-only specials. When shopping online, check for promotional codes for sites you are buying from. Use PromotionalCodes.com to organize coupon codes for popular online retailers selling clothing, electronics, and school supplies.
Do an Inventory at Home before Shopping
Before hitting the stores or logging in online, do an inventory of your own shelves. You’ll probably find lots of notebooks, binders and other items that have plenty of life left in them. Take stock of what’s already around. There’s no need to buy two new sweaters when your daughter already has three barely-worn ones hanging in her closet. Find additional tips about clothing savings ideas at MoneyCrashers.
Door Buster Deals
With back-to-school shopping underway, all the major retailers are trying to lure you in with door buster specials. Many items can be real bargains but avoid loading up on all of the other items that are not on sale. You might find great deals on pens at CVS or Walgreens but most of their other back-to-school items are priced considerably higher than you’ll find at big box retailers such as Walmart or Target. Buy the door buster items but then head for the door.
Take advantage of the Calendar
August is one of the best months for back-to-school shopping. You’ll get great deals because of the convergence of back-to-school, as well as for end-of-season clearance sales. Know what you’re shopping for and compare costs—all you need to do is open up a few tabs on your computer to find the best prices online. According to the National Retail Federation, the best shopping days of this season will run from Aug. 27 through Sept. 1. For great Labor Day sales visit Coupons.com.
Take your Time
If you have the time and the inclination to spread out your shopping over several weeks and by going to more than one store or one website, you can save a bundle. Follow ads online and in newspaper circulars from week to week, and jump into action when you spot a really good deal. Many great deals are available afterschool begins.
Shop in one Spot
If you don’t have the time or energy to hop from one place to another to take advantage of all of the best sale days, go to Walmart or Target and get just about everything you need at reasonable prices either in the store or online. Walmart offers 30 percent more back-to-school items online this year compared to last year. Both big-box chains are offering price matching programs, some of which you can still use after making your purchase. At Walmart.com you can enter an ID code listed on the in-store receipt and get a gift card rebate if the company’s prices were more expensive than advertised prices at competitors.
Use Comparison-Shopping Apps
It seems like almost every day, new apps arrive that are designed to help you find the best deals, compare in-store prices and make shopping lists and they’re free. Shop Savvy Barcode Scanner allows you scan an item’s barcode and find prices from other stores and online sites. Other apps to check out include Favado, The Find, ShopAdvisor, SaleSorter and PriceGrabber. Some stores also offer their own app, such as Target’s Cartwheel. All are available on Apple and Android.
Use Credit Wisely
Don’t put anything on a credit card if you aren’t certain you’ll be able to pay it off in full when the bill comes. Any savings you reaped by being a smart shopper will disappear into the APR. Also, avoid the temptation to sign up for retail credit cards; you don’t want to have excessive debts after school starts.
Not sure what to do? Call to Speak with a Trinity Counselor.
With more than 20 years experience in debt management services, Trinity provides experience and expertise in personal financial services. If you would like more information about credit and debt or have questions about debt management options, contact Trinity at 800.758.3844.
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