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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

BBB Tip of the Week: Back-to-school shopping

The start of another school year is just around the corner. Whether you have a student who needs crayons or a computer, now is the best time to get sale prices on back-to-school gear.

Here are some tips to help you stay on track with your shopping:

• Make a list of needed and like-to-have items. Check the school supply lists posted by your student’s school and verify the dress code.

• Make a budget and stick to your list.

• Take inventory around the house. Left over or gently used school supplies could tick a few items off your list.

• Search online and in your local circulars for deals, ads and coupons. When comparing deals, be sure to consider quality as well as the value.

• Shop on the first day of sales, both online and in store. The store will have more sizes and colors in stock, offering you more choices.

• For those with tight budgets, consider shopping at thrift or consignment stores.

• Check the store’s refund and exchange policies, which may be different during the back-to-school rush because of the deals offered.

• Consider making back-to-school shopping a teachable moment for your student. Together you can create the list, budget, and even look at ads to compare deals. Consider setting limits that reflect the values you wish to teach your student and still allow some room for negotiation.

When shopping online, the BBB urges you to shop safely and smartly using the following tips:

• Shop from online retailers you can trust.

• Read return and exchange policies carefully.

• Only check out from secure sites (Web address beginning with https), in order to keep your information safe.

• Pay by credit card. If there is a problem with the purchase that the seller won’t resolve, you may be protected under the Fair Credit Billing Act.

For more consumer tips or to research a retailer, visit the BBB at or call 509-455-4200.

By Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor