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Money Talk: Back-to-school savings tips for parents

September 19, 2018

Gateway services

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.

Here are some tips for parents looking to uncover the best back-to-school deals:

• 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.

• 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. In fact, many stores will match online prices if you show them the same item is available online for less.

• 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 also could 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.

• 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.

THE LIST

According to a Natixis Investments Managers survey, the best countries for retirement based on finances, material well-being, health and quality of life are (Global Retirement Index score):

1. Switzerland (84 percent)

2. Iceland (84 percent)

3. Norway (81 percent)

4. Sweden (78 percent)

5. New Zealand (78 percent)

6. Australia (78 percent)

7. Ireland (77 percent)

8. Denmark (77 percent)

9. Canada (77 percent)

10. Netherlands (76 percent)

NUMBER TO KNOW

6.94 million: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the number of job openings reached a record 6.94 million in July.

TECH TALK

About half of U.S. homes expected to have smart speakers: If buying trends continue, about half of U.S. homes will have a smart speaker by the end of the year.

According to a recent poll conducted by Adobe Analytics, 48 percent of consumers planned on buying a smart speaker later this year. Currently, 32 percent of consumers own a smart speaker, up from 28 percent in December 2017.

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