Waiting for best 'Back to School' bargains

PHILADELPHIA - August 13, 2012

The sales are enticing, but don't let them lure you in just yet. Instead, hold off buying for Back to School as long as you can.

"Wait for the list; it's easy to be tempted right now with all these great offers that they are advertising right now, except in a lot of cases you're not even sure what the school is going to require you to get," Patricia Hasson, President and Executive Director of Clarifi, said.

And be sure to take inventory of what you already have.

And when you do hit the stores for what you need, do your homework first.

"You definitely want to look online and see what the sales are and where they are," Hasson said.

For big-ticket items, really think about what your children's true needs are.

If they do need something like a computer or iPad, look into getting a refurbished one for a fraction of the cost.

If your student is heading to college, keep in mind, his or her school ID could translate into a savings card at stores that offer student-only discounts.

And for basic supplies, hard to believe but dollar stores might not have the best deals for you.

Experts say your favorite stores might actually have the lowest prices when you factor in things like rewards card offers and coupons.

Finally, when your cart is full, use your shopping excursion as a teaching tool and make sure your kids are at the register when you're checking out.

"I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised how much your kids enjoy understanding what it costs to go shopping for just the basic back to school supplies," Hasson said.

You can also make saving a fun challenge for your kids. Give them a dollar figure and see if they can get what they need within that budget.

Also look around for freebies. JCPenney is offering free haircuts to students K-6 during the entire month of August.

Target is offering a scholarship contest for college essentials.

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