Consumer Reports: Back to school shopping deals

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According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend an average of $674 dollars per child on back-to-school shopping this year. (WPVI)

Back-to-school shopping is big business, second only to Christmas. Many parents dread this time of year because all those school clothes and supplies can leave a big hole in their pockets.

According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend an average of $674 dollars per child on back-to-school shopping this year.

So Consumer Reports has spent part of the summer doing some homework for you by finding smart ways to avoid busting your budget.

Nancy Ortiz already has a list of the school supplies her two sons need for the start of school, but it's going to cost her.

"About $1000 dollars roughly. And that would be including all supplies, including clothing, etc.," she said.

So the first thing you should do is set a realistic budget and see what you already have at home. Then hop onto Facebook and Twitter for coupons, many retailers offer some of the best deals on social media.

And ask stores if they offer student discounts. Many do, with savings of ten to twenty percent.

For electronics consider certified, refurbished models from reputable retailers like Amazon.

"They can be less expensive and best if you're buying them for young children who can drop or break them," said Donna Rosato from Consumer Reports.

If you prefer new electronics and don't need to buy right away, you may get a better deal later in the year, like around Black Friday.

In fact, you should wait to buy many items! Ask the teachers what your student will need right away, and get the other supplies later. You'll get better deals later in September.

And when you're shopping, take your smart phone with you.

Download apps like RedLaser or DealNews to quickly scan products and compare prices or search for deals.

Stores including Walmart, Target and Best Buy will match prices from some competitors right on the spot.

And Consumer Reports advises you skip the office supply stores.

Buying every item on a 5th-grade school supply list at Staples or OfficeDepot could cost you more than $130.

According to DealNews - that's about $40 more than buying the same supplies at Walmart or Target.

Among the seven large retailers analyzed for that report, Target had the best prices on school supplies and Walmart offered the best prices on clothing.

For more information on how to save for back to school shopping, CLICK HERE.
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