Texas Living

3 Back-to-School Shopping Tips

By Lisa Martin 8.1.13

Back-to-school season rivals only the winter holidays in terms of retail sales, with consumers shelling out more than $83 billion in 2012. Last year, parents spent an average of $688 on everything from packs of No. 2 pencils to sneakers for their students.

“When it comes to their children, there’s nothing more important to a parent than making sure their children have everything they need, even in a tough economy — and especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping,” says Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, which tracks consumer spending.

“Backpacks rip, pencils break, and children grow, there’s no way around it, but as they begin tackling their shopping lists, parents will make sure to spend smarter than they ever have before.”

Here are a few back-to-school shopping tips to help stretch your dollar.

Shop Around

Local retailers may post your school’s list of supplies near bins or shelves containing those items. But don’t necessarily buy everything in one place. School supplies can pop up in the oddest places, including craft and hobby stores, dollar stores, and supermarkets. Check online for great deals from office supply stores, too.


Don’t automatically think your kids need all new stuff. Some of last year’s supplies may work just fine. As long as they’re in good condition, consider reusing pencil boxes, rulers, protractors, calculators, spiral notebooks, erasers, and markers.

Skip Sales Tax

This year’s Sales Tax Holiday — wherein the State of Texas exempts most clothing and school supplies that cost less than $100 from taxation — runs August 9-11. Retailers often jump on the bandwagon by piling on sales and discounts.

© 2013 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance