When spending that kind of money, Q13 FOX News wants to make sure you're shopping wisely. We asked the Better Business Bureau's David Quinlan for advice on becoming a smarter back-to-school shopper.
First off, Quinlan said shoppers need a budget. Not just a budget for back-to-school, a budget for the entire school year. Go beyond the usual list of school supplies and new shoes.
Be sure to factor in:
- Lunch money
- Field trip costs
- Gifts for teachers
- Winter clothes
"By filing your money into the appropriate areas you can avoid being surprised when you find out your 5th grader no longer fits in last year`s winter coat, " Quinlan said.
Also, shoppers need to read the fine print on those back-to-school ads.
"When shopping in-store or online be sure to review the ad for restrictions, quantities and dates for sale and return policies," Quinlan said.
Along those same lines, if shoppers are making a big purchase, research, research, research.
"Research brands and options to choose one that meets expectations and budgets," Quinlan said. "Many computer and software companies offer discounts to students. Shop from a BBB Accredited Business for peace of mind."
For college students headed back to school, scams are a real concern. Quinlan offered a list of situations college students to beware of:
- Identity theft. Whether you live in a dorm or have a roommate chances are there is a lot of foot traffic in your residence. Be sure to keep important documents stored under lock and key.
- Employment scam. Be on guard while searching for a job to fit your busy schedule. Be skeptical of jobs offering 'quick cash' with 'no experience necessary'. Never give out your credit card or bank account information to a company over the phone. Typically, you won`t need to provide this information until your first day on the job. Look up the company`s business review at bbb.org/northwest to see how they fare.
- Credit Card offers. Groups offering quick and easy credit card signups are often found on or around campus. A lot of these cards have high interest rates or charge annual fees. Be a good student and study up on the best credit card plan that suits your needs.