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Back To School Shopping: 7 Tips To Help You Save

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Ginger Allen
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DALLAS (CBS 11 I-TEAM) - Can you solve this simple math problem?  Take TWO teachers. Mrs. Scruggs and Mrs. Scoville have been doing back-to-school shopping in Dallas with their families for at least 10-years.  Add ONE consumer guru. Kyle James runs rather-be-shopping.com. Plus FOUR North Texas stores scoured by the CBS 11 I-team.

And what’s do you get? SEVEN tips to help you save on back-to-school shopping.

Number one- CONSIDER SHOPPING AT OFFICE SUPPLY STORES.

“I think the common thought is they are going to be more expensive, but I’ve noticed in the last few years they really have some great back to school deals,” says Kyle James. At a Dallas Office Depot store, we found composition books marked down to 10-cents.

And that leads to number two–ASK RETAILERS TO PRICE MATCH COMPETITORS.

The CBS 11 I-team took the ad for the 10-cent composition books to a North Texas Walmart and had no problem getting the same deal. We showed an employee our sales ad, and she immediately punched the lower price from the ad into the register.

We visited an area Target where a four-pack of pens was priced higher than the exact same pack at another store. We showed the clerk the ad and within seconds we paid the lower price.

And, Staples price-matched for us as well. We showed an Office Depot ad with Sharpies priced at 25-cents each. The employee at Staples took one look at the sales ad and gave us the markers for 25-cents each.

Number three- DO NOT SHOP IN ONE PLACE.

James says stores try to lure in with sale signs in hopes you’ll stock up on the full-priced items around them.

Number four-STICK TO YOUR LIST.

Mrs. Scruggs and Mrs. Scoville say this is very important for teachers, moms and students. “The teachers ask for what they want and there is a reason they are asking for those things,” explains Mrs. Scoville.

Number five- BACKPACKS WITH CHARACTERS MAY COST MORE.

James warns consumers to watch out for backpacks with popular characters on them. They grab your kid’s attention, but he says retailers are able to raise the price because of that appeal. James estimates you can save up to 20-percent by buying plain backpacks; however, he and some store employees we talked to tell us you may be sacrificing quality if you do not buy a brand name backpack. He says the quality of the well-known backpacks may be worth the price in the long-run.

Number six- LOG ON BEFORE BUYING A LAPTOP.

James says students on these three sites can save up to 20-percent off laptops, desktops and tablets. He says you should also look here before buying. James says, “Be prepared to provide proof of your student eligibility with a student ID card or college transcript.”

Apple Education Pricing
College Student Deals
Dell University

Number seven-TAKE THE KIDS WITH YOU?

Mrs. Scruggs and Mrs. Scoville are also moms. The CBS 11 I-team met up with them while they were doing their annual back-to-school shopping trip together. The two- families have made this a fun family tradition for years. Michelle Scruggs admits it may cost her a little more when her 14-or-12-year old sees an extra “cat folder” or special item that is not on their list, but she says it’s worth it to have them with her. These two women say they will always take their children back-to-school shopping.

James, on the other hand, says leave the kids at home. He says those extra “cat folders” and other items will add up quickly. He, too, is a parent. James says let them enjoy opening and organizing the supplies at home.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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