With prices rising, here’s how to make the most of back-to-school shopping

(BPT) - The back-to-school season can be a magical time of year for students and parents alike. Whether it's picking out the perfect first-day outfit, getting decked out in a new football uniform, or helping decorate your rising college freshman's first dorm room, the season can spark plenty of special moments that make lasting, lifetime memories.

But making these moments happen can be challenging. Prices of school supplies have risen nearly 25% in the past two years, according to a July 2023 Deloitte Back-to-School Survey, putting a major strain on back-to-school budgets. Despite prices being up, the survey showed that six in 10 parents say they would be willing to splurge for the right reasons, like treating their child or allowing their child to express themselves.

Thankfully, there are ways for shoppers to have more flexibility for their back-to-school purchases - to allow not only for notebooks and pencils, but also the sparkly new shoes and a special backpack. By checking out with PayPal, shoppers can save, have more flexibility on their budget, and shop smartly and securely - knowing their privacy, money and purchases are protected for all the moments that matter most.

Here are four tips to help you stretch your back-to-school shopping budget:

1. Create a shopping list before loading up your cart

It's easy to be tempted by back-to-school product displays, but making a detailed shopping list before you start filling up your cart can help you stay focused. While your child's school may provide a list of required school supplies, chances are you'll need to purchase other items like backpacks, lunch boxes, cleaning supplies, electronics and clothes, too.

Once you have your list finalized, take inventory of supplies or items you might already have at home. Your child may have leftover supplies from last year, or an older child may have supplies they can share or pass down to their younger siblings.

2. Take advantage of flexible payment options

Another way to make back-to-school shopping more manageable is by spreading payments out over time, giving you the flexibility to pay for items at a pace that works best for you and your budget.

When checking out with PayPal, shoppers can choose to break up the cost of their purchases with PayPal Pay Later - either dividing the cost into four interest-free payments with Pay in 41 or for larger purchases ($199 to $10,000), selecting Pay Monthly and breaking the total cost into monthly payments over a longer period of time.2

3. Shopping online? Don't forget to look for deals!

Utilizing coupons and discounts can make shopping less stressful - and help you stretch your budget even further. However, hunting for the best deals online takes time, and sometimes you don't know how to determine the best deal.

One way to make sure you're getting the best value when back-to-school shopping is by using PayPal Honey. With a few clicks at checkout, PayPal Honey's mobile and desktop browser extensions will automatically search for, and test, available coupon codes on available sites. If a working code is found, PayPal Honey then will apply the one with the biggest savings to your cart.

4. Compare, compare, compare

If you're a smart shopper, you already know it's worth comparing generic and brand-name items to get the best bang for your buck. After all, many generic brand back-to-school items offer the same quality as brand-name products at a lower price.

But to truly get the best deals, shoppers should keep a close eye on the price of products - which are changing all the time. One easy way to do so is with PayPal Honey's Droplist feature, which automatically notifies you if an item you're interested in goes on sale. So go ahead - shop around!

Making financial decisions can be stressful, but sticking to your budget doesn't mean giving up the moments - and memories - that matter most.

1. Disclosure: Pay in 4 is subject to approval. Eligibility varies by state. CA: Loans made or arranged pursuant to a CA Financing Law License. GA: Installment Lender Licensee, NMLS #910457. RI: Small Loan Lender Licensee. NM residents: Find more disclosures related to Pay in 4. Learn more at paypal.com/payin4.

2. Disclosure: Pay Monthly is subject to credit approval. Fixed APR is 9.99-35.99% based on your credit. Rates as low as 4.99% from time to time. Terms may vary based on the purchase amount. Offer availability varies by state, merchant, and purchase amount. The lender for Pay Monthly is WebBank. PayPal, Inc. (NMLS #910457): CT Small Loan Licensee. RI Loan Broker Licensee. VT Loan Solicitation Licensee. Learn more at paypal.com/buynowpaylater.

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