Milwaukee, Wis. – Back-to-school season means shopping, whether your children learn at home or head to school in person.

Before determining what students may need for the year, set a budget. Planning ahead as much as possible will help keep expenses to a minimum and help everyone involved stay on task.

BBB recommends the following tips when looking for school-related items, either in person or online:

In-person shopping

Most retailers have dropped mask mandates, but some pharmacies or local stores may still have them. Supply chain issues could also impact shopping. When getting ready to shop, contact the store directly if you have questions about hours, policies, or to see if supplies are in stock.

Research big ticket items

Whether your children are learning in-person at school or online from home, technology has come to the forefront over the past two years. When buying new equipment, check with your child’s school to learn about any technical requirements and determine if any changes are necessary to the home’s high-speed internet.

Before purchasing an expensive laptop, tablet or another computer accessory, research the brands, warranty, customer reviews and prices at various stores to make sure the best deal can be had. Also, look up the retailer’s reputation on BBB.org.

Shop smart with sales 

Compare prices between different retail stores, save coupons, sign up for email alerts and redeem any cash-back or rebate offers. This will help get the best deals and stay within budget.

Ask for discounts

Many stores and software companies offer discounts. Some are available to students with either a “.edu” email address or a student ID. Others may have a discount for signing up for marketing materials or surf the internet for online coupons and discounts (make sure they are affiliated with the retailer). It doesn’t hurt to ask, even if you don’t see a deal advertised at the store.

Consider buying in bulk

If meeting in person, some teachers may ask parents to buy bulk items (paper towels, tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer) for the entire classroom to use throughout the year. Compare lists with other parents and see if costs can be shared.

Shop wisely, safely online

When shopping online, be wary of “click bait” ads that feature items that imply that you may want or need them based on your search history. Scammers could be trying to drive you to a different website to potentially steal personal information. Take note of the ad and go to the store’s website by directly typing into the search bar. Make note of the website’s privacy policy, and contact information, and always use a credit card when making a purchase.

For more information

Check out the new BBB Back to School HQ

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.bbb.org/wisconsin, 414-847-6000 or 1-800-273-1002. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.
  
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2021, people turned to BBB more than 200 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 25,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Wisconsin which was founded in 1939 and serves the state of Wisconsin.
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