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Three ways to maximize your back-to-school shopping power

If you have been paying attention to recent commercials or the change in displays at Target or Wal-Mart, the back-to-school shopping season is in full swing, even though we haven’t touched August 1st yet. Retailers want to get out in front of the competition as early as possible, but divorcing and separated parents may not have as much money to spend because of a breakup. Meanwhile, the costs of notebooks, clothing and electronics that kids need for a new school year will probably rise.

According to the Backpack Index, an annual survey that tracks the cost of school supplies and other related expenses, back-to-school costs were about $1000 for middle schoolers and $662 for elementary school kids. Of course, high school kids cost the most, with nearly $1500 in costs. Because of these increases, divorced and separated parents must be smarter about how they shop.

This post will identify several ways parents can achieve this. 

Incorporate cost saving apps – If you don’t know about shopping apps such as Retail-Me-Not,, and Shopular, you should. These apps help you find additional coupons and special offers that you may not see in print ads.

Think about refurbished items – Today’s second hand market for tablets, computers and phones does not mean that these items are second rate. Refurbished electronic devices can give you the same technical capabilities as brand new ones at substantial discounts.  

Consider shopping online – If you haven’t realized the additional costs of driving to a store and buying food at a mall or shopping center, or impulse purchases when back-to-school shopping, you should. These costs certainly add up. Conversely, shopping online could save money by avoiding the peripheral spending that brick and mortar retailers depend on.

The preceding is not legal advice.

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