InCharge Debt Solutions Top 10 Tips to Manage Back-To-School Shopping Expenses

Jul 30, 2013, 09:00 ET from InCharge Debt Solutions

Relax and take the stress out of shopping on a budget

ORLANDO, Fla., July 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- It's that time of year again already: back-to-school season is upon us and with it comes a list of items necessary to prepare and equip your children. According to Deloitte's annual "Back-To-School" and "Back-To-College" surveys, parents expect to pay an average of $428 on items for children in K-12, and $907 on items for college. While back-to-school shopping is unavoidable, it can be manageable with these top 10 money savings tips from InCharge® Debt Solutions ("InCharge"), a nonprofit financial counseling organization. 


1.  Take inventory of what your kids already have. Don't assume they have outgrown all their clothes and need a new wardrobe. Help your kids figure out what still fits.  For clothes that you have to buy, plan on getting mix and match items to expand their wardrobe options. Also, check your home stash of backpacks, pencils and crayons. Smart shoppers will shop at home first.

2.  Set a budget.  Once you've developed a list of items that you need, let your children know how much they can spend so they can actively participate in developing smart shopper habits. Motivate your children by telling them they can keep any cash that they don't spend.

3.  Take advantage of sales tax breaks. 16 states including Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia participate in tax-free back-to-school shopping.  Don't miss out!  Search online to find out the details of your state's participation. Most start this weekend.

4.  Utilize coupons. This is an easy way to reduce your shopping expense. Most stores offer back-to-school discounts. Check online at your favorite stores' website or at and

5.  Go digital.  If you have a smartphone or e-reader, you can save by buying the digital version of books, usually at a lower cost than a print book. There are a large number of free eBooks through Amazon, Google Books and Barnes & Noble to name a few.  If you need to have a print version check out low-priced sites such as They have a wide variety of textbooks as well.

6.  Get social.  Facebook and Twitter go beyond just connecting. 'Like' and Follow office supply brands for exclusive deals. Use Twitter to search for #deal, #save, or #coupon and you'll see a wide variety of money saving tweets.  

7.  Try children's consignment sales.  You can get discounts on quality clothing at children's consignment sales. Search online for sales in your area at

8.  Use cash back sites. If you shop online, try sites like . With every purchase, you will earn back a percentage of your total purchase (between 1% and 40%, depending on the store).

9.  Organize a kids' clothing swap. These can be set up through your church, office or neighborhood.  Participants bring outgrown clothes and take items they need. Anything left over can be donated to charity. 

10.  Relax.  Following the shopping tips above will help you stay within your budget and keep credit card bills low.

InCharge Debt Solutions provides bankruptcy counseling, credit counseling, and housing counseling services to consumers and service members in need of financial literacy education, money management guidance, and help finding the right debt solution for their specific situation.

  • Bankruptcy Education and Counseling: Take required pre-filing counseling (from certified counseling staff) and pre-discharge course. Call 866-729-0049.
  • Credit Counseling: Certified credit counselors give free, confidential counseling (online or by phone) and offer an alternative to debt consolidation through debt management programs and free budgeting assistance. Call 877-486-4924.
  • Housing Counseling Services: Our Certified Housing Counselors can assist consumers with free foreclosure prevention counseling, mortgage scam assistance, pre-purchase counseling and first-time homebuyer education. Call 877-251-1882.
  • Servicemember Help: Specialized help for military families facing financial difficulty. Call 877-258-9549.
  • Online Counseling: Free, comprehensive web counseling provides budget building tool, analysis and available solutions from your computer. Visit: InCharge Debt Solutions.

About InCharge® Debt Solutions
Founded in 1997, InCharge® Debt Solutions is a leading 501(c)(3) non-profit, community-service organization offering confidential and professional credit counseling, housing counseling, debt management, bankruptcy education and general financial education to individuals seeking options to manage credit card debt and consolidate debt payment. The company, accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA) and a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), interacted with over 1.1 million consumers in 2012. InCharge is affiliated with InCharge® Education Foundation, Inc. (ICEF) which is dedicated to providing educational products, services and research supporting the personal financial literacy of consumers across America. ICEF also provides financial literacy training to servicemembers and their families through Military Money.

CONTACT: Chris Henningsen, 407-532-5659,



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