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Ask an Expert: five back-to-school shopping tips

USU Extension

By: McKenzie Walsh, Utah State University Extension housing program coordinator,

Back-to-school shopping can be the perfect time to help kids learn to inventory their clothing, make decisions, and become wise shoppers. Below are tips to involve kids without leaving a hole in your pocketbook.

  1. Take inventory. Before venturing to the store, help kids take stock of their drawers and closets. Are there shoes that still fit from last year? Are there hand-me-downs from an older brother or sister that are in good shape? As you take inventory, note items that can be discarded, those that need repair, and things need to be purchased.

  2. Create a spending plan. After making your shopping list, involve youth in creating a spending plan. By making a plan, you develop perimeters to help them shop within their means.

  3. Watch the ads. There are many shopping apps available. One that is noteworthy is Flipp. It is free and lets you see weekly ads for major and minor retail stores. Watch it regularly to check for stores that might have sales on the items on your list. Look at the ads with your kids as you decide where to shop for their clothes and supplies. 

  4. Consider thrift shopping. Thrift shopping allows you to shop for trendy items without the price tag. It might take more than a day or two to find the things you need, but it could be the secret to helping you stick to your spending plan.

  5. Use the envelope method. This method is a great way to help kids see the value of money. Give each child their own envelope and write their name on it along with the items they need. This method will help them learn that shopping for sales will allow their dollars to stretch farther. It is also a very visual lesson that once the money is gone, it’s gone. 
Nicholas Porath is a Logan native and music lover. Having graduated from USU with a degree in broadcast journalism, it was while studying journalism that he found his niche and newfound love for radio. He first started out as an intern behind the scenes and eventually made his way to the production and control rooms where he worked as a fill-in host, as well as producer for numerous UPR programs including <i>Cropping Up, Access Utah, Behind the Headlines</i> and more. In 2023 he took on a new hurdle as UPR’s new Radio Broadcast Engineer. He still works as a programming producer and is a member of the Society of Broadcast Engineers.