AS the calendar inches closer to September, the excitement of the back-to-school shopping season takes center stage. Regardless of whether your children engage in remote learning from the comfort of home or return to in-person classrooms, the BBB serving Mainland BC & Yukon stands ready with five tips for consumers.
Here are BBB’s top five tips for you:
#1: Research big-ticket items. For in-person or online learning, technology is crucial. Before getting new devices, ask the school about what technology is required for your child to best succeed. Research brands, warranties, reviews, and prices for laptops and accessories across stores to get the best deal. Check the retailer’s reputation on BBB.org before making a purchase.
#2: Set a budget. You can set a realistic budget once you know where you are spending money. Set a portion for needs and a smaller portion for some wants if finances allow. Start having conversations with your child about the difference between needs and wants. Perhaps the sparkly pens aren’t a need, but rather just a want. This can garner your young ones to keep a budget top-of-mind in the future. Check out this online budget planner from the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.
#3: Shop your home first. Check your cupboards first before buying new supplies. You might have scissors or other items you need already at home. Turn the search into a game by finding pencils and markers hidden around the house like a scavenger hunt. Once you know what you have, have some fun by decorating pencil bags or backpacks together. You can also get in touch with your school’s Parents and Teachers Association (PTA) to coordinate supply needs. Teachers might ask for bulk items like paper towels or hand sanitizer for the class, so team up with other parents to share costs if possible.
#4: Ask for discounts. Many stores offer discounts for students who have a student ID or a student email address. Others may have a discount for signing up for marketing emails. Do your own research to find online coupons, as they may be affiliated with the retailer you choose. It never hurts to ask, even if you don’t see a deal advertised at the store. Price-matching may still be honoured, depending on the store.
#5: Need a tutor? Find the right fit for your child the first time. Aside from seeking recommendations from friends, family, and teachers, you can also visit BBB.org to find an Accredited tutor for your child’s success. Reach out to multiple tutors for quotes and discuss their availability, rates, and policies, including cancellations, make-up sessions, and potential outcomes for your child’s progress. Inquire about any additional fees, such as materials or assessments. Clear communication upfront can help avoid unexpected issues like last-minute cancellations or rate changes.
Find everything you need with BBB’s Back-To-School HQ, which includes more shopping, financial, and safety tips.