{Back To School} Seven Back-to-School Shopping Pitfalls to Avoid

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that combined back-to-school and back-to-college sales will reach $68 billion this year, serving as the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays. However, 9 in 10 Americans surveyed said the economy will impact their back-to-school spending in some way.

In order to help shoppers maximize savings, consumer savings expert, Regina Novickis, provides these seven back-to- school shopping pitfalls to avoid:

1) Avoid shopping exclusively in-store: Shopping online is a great way to compare services, products and prices. It eliminates the need to trek from store-to-store and allows consumers to find better deals all with the click of a mouse. Searching for coupon codes can help further savings. Additionally, shopping online saves on gas expenses. If you take a trip to the mall every weekend and it’s 30 miles round trip, that could be a gallon and a half of gas per weekend; or 6 gallons a month. Search sites that offer free shipping such as FreeShippingCoupons.com, and cut down to just one trip to the mall in a month, which can save approximately $17 per month.

2) Avoid skipping over the promotional code box: When shopping online, if you see a box to enter a promotional code, don’t skip over it. Search sites like PromotionalCodes.com and CouponWinner.com, which organize promotional codes for over 10,000 stores like Target, DELL, Staples, Chegg.com, The Children’s Place and more. PromotionalCodes.com & CouponWinner.com feature a specific Back-to-School category page.

3) Avoid procrastinating: We teach our kids not to procrastinate when it comes to their homework, but this lesson also applies for back-to-school shopping. While some parents may wait until after school starts for clearance prices, retailers are implementing aggressive pricing strategies this year, with offers and deals throughout the month of August and through the start of the school season. Shopping early this year can yield great bargains.

4) Avoid the stores without shopping at home first: Take inventory of what you already have at home and consider what you’ll actually need before hitting the stores.

5) Avoid shopping without a list or a budget: Impulse purchases are a quick way to blow the back-to-school budget. Create your list before hitting the mall or online shopping sites. It’s easy to get caught up by the latest trend items, but those may be the things that push you over your budget.

6) Avoid not asking for price adjustments: Store policies vary, but many retailers will honor a price adjustment if an item goes on sale shortly after you’ve purchased it.

7) Avoid missing the opportunity to teach your kids the value of money: Ask kids to contribute to their school supplies with savings from their allowance. To make this more fun, allow them to use their contribution for an item that goes beyond a basic necessity (eg, a branded backpack versus the basic version you might buy).

Regina Novickis is a consumer savings expert for PromotionalCodes.com, who travels internationally teaching shoppers how to get the best prices on everything from travel and electronics, to subscriptions and shoes. She is regularly featured on news segments across the United States, including on Fox & Friends, NBC, CBS, FOX and CW.

If you are interested in booking an in-studio, satellite or phone interview, please call 424.214.5479 or email Regina.Novickis@SurfMyAds.com.

About The Shopping Mom