Consumer Watch: Avoiding back-to-school budget busters

Fox 25 Consumer Watch's five will help shoppers stick to their budget as they round out their back-to-school shopping for the year (KOKH).

Back to school time can feel like a budget buster, and it just might be, if you don't have a plan.

There are five big ways to avoid the most common budget busters. Fox 25 Consumer Watch talks to the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma about how to make the most of the back to school shopping season.

1. Set a budget:

Nationwide, back to school spending averages $500. To get a handle on spending, you should pay more attention to hat you spent last year. These are the items you can expect to need: School supplies, clothes, shoes, backpacks, and maybe a lunch box.

Also try to keep yourself from getting distracted while shopping.

“Doing things that whenever they get to the store they are not trying to look all over the place for what they might need,” says Kitt Letcher, BBB of Central Oklahoma President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma.

2. Stick to the list:

Most schools provide a list of school supplies. It will save money to buy only what you need. The kids might get excited, but there is no need to buy several different styles of pencils.

3. Buy generic:

Prices on school supplies can vary widely depending on what you buy. Stylish notebooks are nice but can cost more than twice as much as the generic version. Letcher says, it isn’t necessarily a budget buster to buy some of the fancier stuff, but keep an eye on the bottom line.

“You get to the store and you see the things that are really eye catching or look a lot more fun than maybe you had anticipated purchasing. Maybe just get one of those items instead of using that for all of your school supplies,” says Letcher.

4.Spread out the spending:

Though the kids will need some new clothes for the new school year, there is no need to derail your budget with an entirely new wardrobe. Spread the spending throughout the year.

5. Know refund policies:

If you end up buying something you didn't need, be familiar with return policies, so that money doesn't go wasted.

Don't for get to use any coupons you might have for any school supplies you need. More often coupons are available online or on a stores website, but do need to be presented if you want the discount.

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