Make back-to-school shopping a breeze | Better Business Bureau

School is either underway or right around the corner for many students across the northwest. The preparation for heading back is a big money maker for some businesses.

The National Retail Federation predicts shoppers will spend $75.8 billion on back-to-school shopping —with a majority spent on electronics such as computers or calculators.

Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest wants everyone to be a savvy shopper. Here are some budget saving tips to keep in mind this school year:

  • Budget for the year. Go beyond the usual list of school supplies and new shoes. Be sure to factor in lunch money, field trip costs, gifts for teachers, winter clothes, etc. By filing your money into the appropriate areas you can avoid being surprised when you find out your child has already outgrown their new shoes.
  • Review advertisements. When shopping in-store or online be sure to review the ad for restrictions, quantities and dates for sale and return policies.
  • Research major purchases. Many computer and software companies offer discounts to students. The nonprofit Notebooks for Students helps families obtain laptops and computers at bargain prices. Shop from a BBB Accredited Business for peace of mind.

College students also have a lot to keep in mind as they return to school —especially when it comes to their susceptibility to being scammed. A report issued by the Council of Better Business Bureaus Institute for Marketplace Trust found that 78 percent of scam victims hold a college or graduate degree and 69 percent are under the age of 45.

Here are some of the top scams college students need to look out for:

  • Identity theft. Whether you live in a dorm or have a roommate chances are there is a lot of foot traffic in your residence. Be sure to keep important documents stored under lock and key.
  • Federal Student Tax Scheme. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers to be on the lookout for IRS impersonators callings students and demanding they wire money to pay a fake “federal student tax.” There is no such thing.
  • Employment scam. Be on guard while searching for a job to fit your busy schedule. Be skeptical of jobs offering “quick cash” with “no experience necessary” and never give out your bank account information to a company over the phone. Typically, you won’t need to provide this information until your first day on the job. Look up the company’s business review at bbb.org/northwest to see how they fare.
  • Credit Card offers. Groups offering quick and easy credit card signups can often be found on campus. A lot of these cards have high interest rates or charge annual fees. Be a good student and study up on the best credit card plan that suits your needs.

For more tips and tricks on avoiding scams like these visit bbb.org/northwest.