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Back-to-school shopping

Back-to-school shopping doesn't have to blow your budget. If you're watching your money, you have to shop smart to get your child ready for heading back to class.

Shopping wisely

for school essentials

It may seem that the school year just ended, but summer's flown by, and soon your kids will be off to class again! And back to class means needing to pick up a whole lot of supplies and some new clothes for the school year, which of course could mean shelling out a lot of money. But it doesn't have to make as much of a dent as you think. If you plan wisely, you can slash the amount of money you have to spend.

Buy all the school supplies you need at the beginning of the school year

School supplies get mega reduced in price in the weeks leading up to the start of classes, so it's the best time to get everything your child will need for the upcoming school year. Start by checking what supplies your child still has left from the last school year, then scour the flyers you get with your newspaper for the best sales. You can pick up such staples as notebooks, binders, pens and paper before classes start, and once they start school and get a shopping list of specific items they need, make another trip to the store.

Seek out trendy back-to-school gear at mass retailers

As with school supplies, check your child's closet to see what items still fit. Then make a list of what key items he or she needs for fall. Trendy pieces won't last for many seasons — "looks" come and go — so these pieces aren't worth putting a lot of money into. This season, get your neon pieces and coloured denim inexpensively at some of the mass retailers, such as Joe Fresh, Walmart and Zellers. Stores like Forever 21 and H&M are also great sources for of-the-moment fashion items at a low cost. Items worth putting more of your shopping budget into, though, are those that need to last. Think school bags and shoes. For knits, if it's a trendy colour or style, it's fine to go with a cheaper knit made of acrylic, but a classic cardigan might be worth buying in wool.

Check social media platforms and newsletters for deals

Be sure to sign up for e-newsletters, as you'll often get coupons offering a certain percentage off. Old Navy, for one, sends out sale coupons frequently. Using apps such as ShopCatch while you shop may also help you score deals at some retailers, so it's worth using your smartphone to cash in.

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Tags: school supplies

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