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Credit Card Applications » News » Card Issuers » Best Budgeting Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

Best Budgeting Tips for Back-to-School Shopping

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Back-to-school season is in full swing, with kids and parents everywhere making lists and tallying up needs, wants, and price tags. Chase Bank reports that nearly 40 percent of people have a set budget for back-to-school shopping; meanwhile Credit-Land.com has released a study showing how people can save on back-to-school shopping by using the right payment method according to retailer.

Just as people’s wallets are recovering from summer vacation spending, along comes back-to-school season, with lists of school supplies and first-day-of-school outfits to shop for.  Yes, it’s that time again, and a new survey from Chase Slate says that 38 percent of families have a strict back-to-school budget that they’ll stick to.

The survey, conducted on behalf of Chase Card by independent research company Research Now and representing about 1200 adults across the country, shows the following results:

  • Forty-three percent of respondents said that clothing and apparel would be their biggest expense this season.
  • Twenty-four percent of those surveyed said that books would cost the most on their list.
  • Twenty-three percent of respondents said that technology purchases like laptops, tablets, and e-readers would eat up the biggest part of their budget.

Where to Shop, What to Buy

When it comes to where families will shop, only 26 percent of respondents said they would shop online, and a full ninety-three percent plan to take their kids along with them on their school shopping errands. Taking the kids could result in more spending, with kids lobbying for more expensive items and extras to make school more fun.

About fifty percent of parents say they won’t buy their kids smartphones, tablets or other expensive electronics, no matter how hard kids beg, but about three quarters of them said they would shell out for the clothes and shoes their kids want, designer or not.

Whatever makes the shopping list, it’s worth considering where the best place to shop is. Shopping online, whether at retailer’s websites or through online credit card malls, can spell big savings for customers, but sometimes going to an actual store beats virtual shopping, especially when shoes need to be tried on and clothes modeled in the mirror. Credit-Land.com’s 2012 Back-to-School Payment Method Study breaks down savings by retailer, so consumers can see where they can save the most.

How to Pay

The Credit-Land.com study shows how people can save money by using different credit cards at different retailers – for example, Discover is giving five percent off at department stores this month, while American Express Blue Cash Preferred gives three percent back at department stores year-round. The site lists 18 different retailers, broken down by shopping category, and compares payment methods to show which will save customers more money. Additionally, Discover has been mailing out promotions for August 2012 that featured 2% cash back for each dollar spent on purchases over $500.

Discover sent out mailers at end of July 2012 promoting 2% cash back on items over $500.Roman Shteyn, co-founder of Credit-Land, explained why his team undertook the study: “Although the saying is that ‘cash is king,’ using cash isn’t always the best way to help you save money. Most major merchants offer additions discounts through store credit cards or partnerships with credit card issuing banks. We looked at hundreds of retailers and found the best offers in every shopping category. Families can save hundreds of dollars by using our table to find the best deals.”

Since most families carry at least three or four cards, this will help them figure out which one is best to use when they pay for those pencils, backpacks, calculators and coats.

Cash Back and Coupon Combo = Big Savings

To save even more, consumers on a budget can go to a coupon site like RetailMeNot.com, which is currently running a huge back-to-school savings promotion that lets customers print off coupons or use a mobile app – the RetailMeNot iPhone mobile app – to save on school supplies and other back-to-school shopping.

When shoppers combine the savings from a coupon with cash back from a rewards credit card, they can get huge discounts that will keep them from breaking the bank.

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