Back-to-School shopping shouldn’t break the bank


    boy with back pack

    Better Business Bureau helps parents become savvy shoppers as kids head back to school. 

    With back-to-school spending up 4.5 per cent in Canada from last year*, parents are already facing the first test of the upcoming school year when it comes to finding deals. To help parents make wise spending decisions, BBB says doing homework ahead of time is key.

    “Between school supplies, new clothes and maybe some new sports equipment, back-to-school shopping does take some extra research to make sure you’re spending wisely,” says Mary O’Sullivan-Andersen, president and CEO of BBB Serving Southern Alberta and East Kootenay. “Return and negotiation policies may differ from store to store so it’s best to be clear about policies before making a purchase.”

    Ensure your spending decisions make the grade with these BBB savvy shopping tips:

    • Create a budget. A budget will help shape your shopping list and help limit purchases to only items you need. Knowing your budget will also allow you to put money towards larger items or a special purchase.
    • Create a shopping list. Make a list by child or by store to avoid multiple trips. Also take inventory of items you already have from the previous school year that you may be able to use again.
    • Research major purchases. When shopping for laptops, calculators, dorm refrigerators and other large purchases, do your homework. Research the brands you’re looking for to see what meets your expectations.
    • Don’t miss sales. Compare prices between different retail stores, save coupons and be sure to redeem cash-back or rebate offers. Sign-up for email alerts and download shopping apps for your favourite stores.
    • Buy in bulk. Some schools ask parents to buy items that will be used by the entire class (tissues, hand sanitizer, etc.). Get together with other parents to shop in bulk. Parents of college students can also buy in bulk for snacks, toiletries and other items for future “care packages.”
    • Save your receipts. You’ll need them if you want to make an exchange or return an item. Remember some items are non-refundable or have a limited return period.

    * Back to school costs: How to avoid blowing your budget

    For more tips you can trust, visit


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