Tara Madison
Tara Madison
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If you're part of the 91% of parents who get stressed out by back-to-school shopping, here's some help.  It's a quick guide on what you should splurge on . . . and what you can skimp on . . . for back-to-school.

 

First, the three things you should splurge on . . .

 

1.  Laptops or tablets.  Cheap or refurbished ones won't last as long as something more up-to-date.  Plus you can usually find good deals on laptops in August.

 

2.  Backpacks.  You don't need to go for a brand name, but you want something with plenty of cushioning to protect your kid's back and shoulders.

 

3.  Calculators.  Once you hit junior high and beyond, basic calculators won't cut it.  So if you want your kids taking the advanced math classes when they get to high school and college, it might be worth it to buy the fancy graphing calculator now.

 

And here's what you can skimp on . . .

 

1.  Basic supplies.  Stuff like pens, pencils, binders, and folders can be bought in bulk and don't need to be name-brand to get the job done.

 

2.  Clothes.  Fall clothing like jeans and sweaters will be full price in August, but they'll get more affordable around October.  There's no sense in splurging when your kids will outgrow them in no time anyway. 

 

3.  Textbooks.  There are tons of ways to save money on books for school.  Used books, e-books, and the library are a good place to start. 

 

And websites like Amazon and Chegg let you RENT textbooks . . . so hit those up before you start shelling out for brand new books.  

 

(NerdWallet)

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