On Your Side: Stretch your dollar with back-to-school shopping

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - You can still get everything your child needs on that supplies list and stay on budget.

Assess What You Have

Do a clean sweep. Go through your kid’s closet and find out what still fits. Roundup all the home’s pens, pencils, markers, crayons, and notebooks. This way, you’re only buying what they need.

Get Thrifty

Maybe buy one brand new outfit and the rest second-hand. Hit the thrift stores. Kids grow so fast anyway. This way you save on new clothes.

Price Compare When You Shop

“You want to set a budget before you start shopping to avoid those impulse purchases,” said Samantha Gordon with Consumer Reports. “Especially when you are shopping for clothing. Compare prices while you shop. Having your phone in your pocket is a great way to do this. When you’re shopping in a store, pull it out and see what other stores are selling that same item for.”

Buy in Bulk with Other Families

“Wholesale clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club can be great resources as well, especially if you’re shopping in bulk for things like school lunches, notebooks, and those sorts of supplies. You can team up with families to make that go further and go all in and get those big bulk purchases together,” said Gordon.

Buy a Refurbished Laptop or Tablet

“You can look at refurbished for the products that you want or previous model years. Make sure to look for that ‘certified refurbished’ to make sure you’re getting a great product,” said Gordon.

Find a Better Deal Afterward? No Problem

“A lot of retailers have this policy in place. It’s usually a two-week window after you make a purchase. If the price drops, they’ll honor that sale price and refund you the difference. If they don’t have a policy, it’s always worth asking,” said Gordon.

Make It a Money Lesson

Give your child a budget for a few items. Task them with finding the best deal, and they can pocket what’s left as a reward.

Space It Out

Remember, kids, you don’t need everything on the first day. Give your wallet some wiggle room. See what you can buy later.

Top laptops

You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good-quality laptop. One best option for a tight budget is a Chromebook. Chromebooks are generally less expensive than Mac and PC laptops. They’re not the fastest computers out there, but they will be fine for everyday things like browsing the web, editing documents, completing school tasks, and working.

For example, the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a convertible laptop that can be folded back and used as a tablet.

An even better bang for your buck is the 14-inch HP Chromebook. CR says it’s a solid choice for people on the go because it’s lightweight and anti-reflective, which makes it perfect for use just about anywhere.

If you need something more powerful, for a little more, CR suggests the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 with a 12.4-inch touch screen. It’s among the fastest in CR’s ratings for things like web browsing and editing text documents.

There’s also the Acer Swift 3. It’s a CR Best Buy and earns Excellent ratings for portability, performance, and display. And it has an incredible battery life of more than 23 hours.

If you’ve been saving up or want to treat yourself to a shiny new Mac, CR recommends Apple’s 13-inch Macbook Air with the M1 processor. That’s right, Apple’s older model. But why not the brand new M2?

CR is currently testing the M2 Macbook Air, and early impressions are that it’s not much faster than the M1 MacBook Air. So it might make sense to get the M1 Air, save a little bit of money, and still get a very good Mac laptop.

Consumer Reports says August and September are some of the best times to buy a computer because of sales. Don’t forget to check for student discounts from your school, stores, or computer makers when shopping.

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