ACCC Gives Budget Friendly Back To School Shopping Tips

ACCC provides nine tips for successful back to school shopping

Boston, MA – August 8, 2019

Shopping cart with school suppliesWith summer coming to an end, many parents are preparing for the upcoming school year. The arrival of a new academic year also comes with the sometimes dreaded back to school shopping. How and when parents begin their shopping often varies depending on events such as Prime Day or tax-free weekends, which can make saving money easier.

“Without proper planning, back to school shopping can be extremely harmful to your budget,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “It is important to take inventory of what you already have so you don’t buy supplies you don’t need. Once you know what you need, look around for sales online and at different stores to make sure you’re getting the best deal and not going over budget.”

The National Retail Federation (NRF) has been conducting back to school surveys since 2003 to see how much Americans are spending on the supplies. According to their recent survey, families with children in elementary school through high school plan to spend an average of $696.70 in 2019, up from $684.79 in 2018, and the highest recorded number ever from NRF. Those with children attending college expect to spend an average of $976.78, up from $942.17 – also a record high. The total combined spending for back to school shopping is expected to reach $80.7 billion.

To help consumers with back to school shopping, American Consumer Credit Counseling provides consumers with nine tips on how to stay within a reasonable budget.

  1. Set a budget – It is ideal to start budgeting months ahead for back to school shopping, as costs can add up quickly. If consumers have properly budgeted their savings, they will be more prepared to purchase the items their child needs without breaking their budget.
  2. Take inventory – Consumers should take a look around the house and see what supplies they already have before going out to the store and buying everything on their child’s list. Consumers should also review their child’s list and see what needs to be purchased so they can find the best deals.
  3. Keep children at home – Consumers who shop with their children tend to overspend. It’s hard to say no when kids are there pleading for the latest trend.
  4. Plan a supply swap – Believe it or not, consumers might have plenty of school supplies lying around their house, and their friends probably do too. Coordinate a time to “swap” different items with friends. Consumers may have supplies that are not useful to them, but might be for someone else.
  5. Check consignment shops – Consignment shops are great places to find used clothing for the new year because everything they offer has already been vetted. This can also be a useful place to save money for younger children who are still growing.
  6. Shop on a sales tax holiday – Many states have sales tax holidays when shoppers can buy items without paying sales tax. Take advantage of this weekend to purchase clothing, computers and school supplies for the new school-year.
  7. Follow stores on social media and e-blasts – Many companies send their followers coupons, links and advance notices of deals. If consumers want to save money, they should pay close attention to their favorite brands’ social accounts and sign up for e-blasts.
  8. Buy in bulk – Consumers should consider buying snacks, Ziplock bags, pens and paper in bulk at stores like Costco, BJ’s or Sam’s Club, as these stores can offer great deals.
  9. Focus on saving on big-ticket items – It’s more ideal to save money on a bigger priced item than something small. Don’t spend too much time comparing the prices of glue to save $0.15. Rather, focus on the price of electronics, like a laptop for your high schoolers, as consumers may be able to save as much as $300.

About American Consumer Credit Counseling

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to or visit