5 back-to-school savings tips for parents

(BPT) - Back-to-school season is in full swing and parents are busy completing their shopping lists. Between new books, school supplies and the latest gadgets, sticking to a back-to-school budget is no small feat. Financial columnist, broadcaster and author Peter Dunn, known nationally as 'Pete the Planner,' has some great, deal-savvy shopping tips to help you find the best values and save money during this back-to-school shopping season.

'As a father to two children, I understand how expensive back-to-school shopping is and how important it is to uncover the best values,' says Dunn. 'Saving money during this shopping season requires a thoughtful plan to avoid overspending. Being budget-efficient is not always easy, but it's worth it and will make a big difference in your life.'

Here are five tips from Dunn for parents looking to uncover the best back-to-school deals:

1. Host a back-to-school swap: Gather other parents for a back-to-school swap. Encourage them to bring school-related items they no longer need, including clothes, sports equipment, backpacks, books and supplies. Not only is it a great opportunity to help save a little cash, you can get rid of any unused items you have as well.

2. Save on the necessary tools: According to a recent survey conducted by Straight Talk Wireless, nearly 90 percent of students and parents say mobile devices are essential for educational success during the school year. With Straight Talk's Ultimate Unlimited Plan for just $55 per month, students can take advantage of unlimited talk, text and data to stream video at DVD quality, download educational resources and stay connected with nationwide coverage on America's largest and most dependable networks - all for up to 30 percent less. Best of all, there are no contracts, no credit checks and no mystery fees.

3. Shop local: It's easy to default to buying school supplies online out of convenience, but traditional brick-and-mortar stores have become increasingly competitive for your dollars. In fact, many stores will match online prices if you show them the same item is available online for less.

4. Set a budget: Like holiday shopping, it's best to approach back-to-school shopping with an established budget for each child. Pre-determine what you're going to spend on the essentials such as backpacks, supplies, clothes, shoes and technology so you're less likely to overspend when purchasing. This could also be a powerful lesson for older children, so consider including them in some decision-making and buying processes if you feel they're ready for it.

5. Plan ahead: If you know your child will have school-related expenses later in the year (e.g., athletic equipment or a class trip), begin saving for them now. The more you're able to save ahead of time, the less stress you will feel when the time comes to pay for the expense.

As you continue back-to-school shopping, remember these easy tips to find the best value and maximize savings. With the $55 Ultimate Unlimited Plan and deals on the latest smartphones, Straight Talk Wireless makes it easy to stay connected and save up to 30 percent on your monthly phone bill - helping you save this back-to-school season and beyond. For more information, visit StraightTalk.com.

At 60GB, Straight Talk reserves the right to review accounts for usage in violation of its Terms and Conditions. Please refer to the latest Terms and Conditions of Service at StraightTalk.com. A month equals 30 days.

'Save up to 30%' is based on a comparison of the monthly cost of the $55 Straight Talk Ultimate Unlimited Plan and the monthly cost of a comparable no-contract, single line plan with unlimited talk, text and data on the top two carriers. Excludes taxes, fees, autopay discounts and limited time pricing. Source: Competitor websites, June 2018.

This survey was commissioned by Straight Talk Wireless conducted by Survata, an independent research firm in San Francisco. Survata interviewed 1,206 online respondents between July 09, 2018 and July 12, 2018. For further information, visit www.survata.com.

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