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Parents: 2012 Back to School Shopping Basics

How quickly August has arrived! That means it's time to hit the stores and purchase back to school items.

Believe it or not, it is time to start back to school shopping. Summer is flying by, which means parents and students are hitting local retailers to pick out school supplies and checking out the fall fashions.

As my one friend said, "It’s a scary time of year at IKEA," because college-bound kids have filled the White Marsh store looking for finishing touches for their new dorm rooms. But it’s just as intimidating in the back to school sections Walmart and Target, as composition books, binders and glue sticks are in hot demand.

Retail stores are filled with parents looking for deals, and kids looking for this year's biggest trends. Regardless of where you're shopping, everyone is trying to make sure all the required items are purchased.

But this year more than ever, parents seem to be spreading out the costs, , and taking advantage of coupons and deals like Maryland’s tax-free shopping week. Beginning on Sunday, Aug. 12 through Aug. 18, back to school items of clothing and footwear under $100, will be exempt from Maryland’s 6 percent sales tax.

Ironically, Maryland does not include actual —binders, back packs, lunch boxes, folders, etc.—in the tax-free shopping. But many retailers are offering special deals. For instance I received a $5 off coupon from Target and Toy’s R Us is offering a free lunch box with the purchase of a backpack.

I’ve also found that Kohl’s, Old Navy, The Children’s Place and other mass merchants are assembling great deals to entice shoppers. Personally, I receive daily emails from stores with coupons and special offers. Which means we've done a bunch of little school shopping trips, vs. one big shopping trip. 

Depending on where you shop, make sure you’ve done your research to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

So what’s hot on your child’s list this year?

For my older son, it was the perfect back pack (we went to five stores), new jeans (since high waters are no longer in fashion), and really cool sneakers. We’re still in the hunt for more long-sleeved shirts, and hoping that by next week the stores will be stocked with fall gear, so we can take advantage of the tax-free items.

I hope to finish up our shopping next weekend, so that we can enjoy the end of summer before starting a school routine and getting used to the demands of kindergarten.

Have you started your back to school shopping? Will you be taking advantage of tax-free shopping next week? Tell us in the comments.

Rita Weber August 07, 2012 at 12:55 PM
It boggles my mind why they would not include the school supplies. Isn't back to school shopping about what you need to return to school and supplies are a huge part of that.
Stacey Schantz August 07, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I agree with you Rita, I was surprised to find out that the actual school supplies are not included. It seems like a no brainer to include the supplies, at least the big items like the back packs, etc.

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