It's the start of the back-to-school season, and that means lots of grumpy kids and lots of cash-strapped parents trying to get everything their little ones will need for the new school year. But back-to-school shopping doesn't always have to painful.
Here, we at GET.com have put together the 5 most common mistakes that parents shopping for back-to-school make. Have a read and avoid all these blunders!
1. Using the Wrong Credit Card
Not using the right credit card is the most common back-to-school shopping mistake anyone can fall prey to. Use a credit card with a low balance, or better yet, no balance. Your available credit counts for 30% of your FICO score, and it's best to keep it at 70% to 90%.
Use a card that offers a great rewards program like a good cash back credit card or rewards credit card. Check your card's current special offers to get discounts from electronics, clothing and school supplies. You may have to pay off your balance in order to use the card with the best rewards program without affecting your credit utilization score.
2. Not Working Out A Budget
Americans are expected to spend $75.8 billion on the back-to-school shopping season this year, according to the National Retail Foundation. But don't start shelling out that green without a clear budget and a detailed shopping list prepared.
Prioritize your spending and try to save as much as possible on big-ticket items. In case you're curious, here are the top 4 most expensive back-to-school items we've rounded up for you.
Most teachers will now provide you a full checklist of school supplies, but don't think you need to buy everything on the list. Regard it as more of a list of recommendations.
3. Waiting Until The Last Minute
Back-to-school shopping is not like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. You can't cram all that shopping into one day or even a few days. Making a comprehensive shopping list and spacing out your purchases over the several weeks preceding the start of the school year will help.
Sometimes, it pays to wait it out. Some retailers will discount goods they didn't sell during the back-to-school shopping rush. Figure out what your kids will need for the first day and first few weeks of school and prioritize those purchases. Don't try to buy absolutely everything they'll need for the whole school year in one weekend.
4. Not Using Apps To Compare And Shop
Your kid needs a new laptop and the perfect one is "on sale" at a retailer you went to for school supplies. Before you hastily check it off your list, comparison shop using apps like ShopSavvy, ScanLife, and Slickdeals.
Chances are you'll find the same laptop for less online or at another nearby retailer. You might even get free shipping or be able to negotiate a price-match guarantee if you don't want to wait.
Before you make snap decisions in the effort to get as much of your back-to-school shopping done as quickly as possible, it is always a better idea to compare prices and negotiate a better deal.
5. Shopping On An Empty Stomach
Shopping requires lots of energy, and shopping with kids requires even more energy. Start your day off right with a good breakfast, talk about the shopping trips you plan for the day, and make sure you make time for lunch to keep everybody energized throughout the entire day.
Shop Using The Right Credit Cards
We know how overwhelming it can be to pick the right credit card when there are so many different ones out there. Here, we at GET.com pick out some of the best ones that you can use especially for this back-to-school season.