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Good Question: How can you save money on back-to-school shopping?

But like most things, there are shortages.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 7:55 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - In tonight’s Good Question, we’re asking about back-to-school shopping.

Children are heading back to the classroom.

So, it’s time to stock up on supplies. But like most things, there are shortages.

It’s driving prices up.

What’s costing the most? And what are some tricks to help you save money?

Those are Good questions we asked finance expert Mark Henry.

Jamie Boll: So what kinds of things are costing us more?

Mark Henry: Everything. So the inflation is definitely real and everything prices have been inflated and people are seeing this. One of the things I recommend is always to have a discussion about what’s a necessity. You know the pants? Just these kids grow. They grow so fast the pants just don’t fit. OK, that could be a necessity. Hey, we need the new Air Jordans. That’s more of a want. It’s not a necessity.

So we really have to see what’s going to fit in the spending plan and do things appropriate for where we’re at.

Jamie Boll: That’s great advice. What else should families consider to save money this year?

Mark Henry: Well, obviously shop for the sales - the Back to School sales and keep an eye on that again on that necessity list.

Like for instance, the poor teachers, you know, it’s tough, they don’t even have the money in a lot of classroom budgets to supply the needed things, so they’ll send out this list for things you can help bring in and we all want to help, and I totally get that. But again, let’s make sure we’re not charging these back-to-school items and doing things like that where we’re putting ourselves further in a hole and not taking care of ourselves. So again, break down the back-to-school list with all the gadgets that may be necessary.

A lot of electronics as the kids age into a junior in high school, they need electronics and stuff, so try to look for the sales and make sure it fits in your spending plan and you’re not having to charge these items and pay on for the next two or three years.

Jamie Boll: Talk a little bit more about sticking to this spending plan and how should I look at it when it comes to you. Should I be paying down debt at this time versus you know these school supplies? In some cases, like you said you do need.

Mark Henry: It’s a hard choice. That’s where it comes down to that necessity item.

But if we’re having to go charge these things and make put ourselves farther in debt, we’ve really got to look hard at what’s absolutely a necessity or what we can get by with. And a lot of times some of the electronics that we’d like to have aren’t a necessity. Those are the more expensive ticket items, and they’re really not a necessity, and maybe supply in the classroom is something we want to do. We’ll try to do what we can, but again, let’s stick with what’s an absolute necessity if we find ourselves having to charge this stuff to get the kids back in school.

Jamie Boll: Fingers crossed we can get through this school year. Healthy, safe and learning.

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