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Get big savings on back-to-school shopping expenses

Posted on August 18, 2011

The back-to-school shopping season accounts for 16 percent of annual retail sales, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The tax-free holiday is a great time to get all your kids back-to-school needs and save a bundle.

Throughout the nation, many states offer no-sales tax weekend for shoppers. Retailers also offer additional incentives and sales to flood their stores with customers. The financial experts at Money Management International (MMI) offer frugal tips to make the most this year’s tax-free holiday.

Do your homework. Not all items are eligible during the tax-free holiday. Make a list of items needed for the upcoming school year and check to make sure they are on the no-sales tax list. Commonly, all clothing items are eligible as well as school supplies, computer equipment, and sports and recreational equipment.

Look for coupons. In addition to no sales tax, many stores are offering back-to-school sales and coupons. Watch out for special promotions such as free-shipping and those “buy two for one” deals.

Shop around. Consider all options for back-to-school savings. The end of summer is when many thrift stores are getting great, gently used clothing. These stores offer amazing pricing for quality merchandise. Online stores also offer great deals during the tax-free holiday.

Reuse what you already have. Many school supplies such as backpacks, binders, and pens can have a second life. Also, school supplies from older siblings - that are still in good condition - can be passed down to younger siblings.

The best strategy for any back-to-school shopping is to start with a game plan, said Kim McGrigg, national spokesperson for MMI. “Remember to set a budget and stick to it. With proper planning, you can prepare your children for another great school year without breaking the bank.”

For more money-saving strategies on back-to-school shopping, visit MoneyManagement.org.

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About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, counseling and debt management assistance to consumers since 1958. MMI helps consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in English or Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit www.MoneyManagement.org.

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