Financial Experts and Deal Seekers Share Back-to-School Savings Tips as Prices Rise | CBC News

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The end of summer is a financially challenging time of year for Toronto mom Monica Belyea. That’s when she’s faced with the double whammy of back-to-school shopping for her kids, along with looming upfront school-related costs: opting for the pizza lunch program her son enjoys, for instance.

This year, things are more difficult than usual. He’s finding that his weekly food budget “doesn’t get me to the end of the week anymore,” and after months of paying higher prices for things like gas, “I just don’t have that much money to go around,” the single said. mom of two

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For Belyea, back-to-school shopping this time means “just looking at what’s feasible in this new world where things are more expensive.”

She is not alone; Many parents across Canada are concerned about how to handle their children’s back-to-school needs this time. Although Statistics Canada reported that the country the inflation rate registered its first decrease in a year this weekmany prices — even for groceries – are still increasing.

CBC News spoke with personal finance specialists and a deal-hunting expert for tips on cutting costs during back-to-school season.

Set budgets; buy your house

Melissa Leong, a Toronto-based money expert, has heard from others about higher prices and “shrinkflation”: when companies reduce packaging or product size but keep the same price — and noticed it herself while shopping.

“There are fewer pencils in the box, but they cost the same amount of money as they used to,” he said.

The author of the personal finance guide. Happy Go Money: Spend Smartly, Save Well, and Enjoy Lifesaid families need to be “more, more organized” when shopping for back-to-school this year, as multiple factors are “testing the wallets of all Canadians.”

“My friends have been talking a lot about being preoccupied with lunches and packing healthy, proper lunches for their kids as their grocery bills are skyrocketing.”

CLOCK | Melissa Leong’s financial tips to save on back-to-school purchases:

Tips to save on back to school

Money expert Melissa Leong shares a wealth of strategies and tips to cut costs when shopping for back to school.

Cost-cutting strategies to try, he said, include “shopping at home” to see what supplies you already have, carefully comparing prices between stores, waiting to buy certain items when sales are most plentiful, and using code apps. coupon when shopping online.

If your family is on an extremely limited budget, Leong noted that some community programs and agencies provide free backpacks and school supplies, so you might try reaching out to groups in your neighborhood for more information.

Combine sales, coupons, store offers

Pat Hollett is seeing a lot of new names and faces at Canadian Savings Group, the volunteer-run website and social media initiative she founded, where she and other deal-seeking experts share grocery deals and coupons. In the last two months alone, some 6,000 people have joined, bringing the group’s Facebook following to over 100,000.

“Everything has gone up in price and Canadians are struggling to make ends meet, that’s what I hear every day,” said Hollett, who is based in Barrie, Ont., and serves as the group’s CEO.

“There are so many things you can control: You can’t control gas prices, you can’t control the housing market, but you can control how much you pay for grocery bills. So our mission is to help Canadians save money on your grocery costs.

Like Leong, Hollett recommends starting simple.

“Don’t take the first thing you see. Shop around and pay the lowest price you can for the same item,” he said. “Price match where you can…Try other brands if they are cheaper.”

Overhead signage noting school supplies is seen above boxes containing folders, duotangs, and other items.
When shopping for back-to-school items, shop around and price match. Coupons, point cards and sales can help reduce costs. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

His next-level strategy, however, is to employ multiple techniques at once: use coupons, deals, and cash-back apps, and take advantage of point card offers to cut prices as much as possible.

Here’s how it might work: Let’s say a store has your child’s favorite cereal on sale for $4.77 this week. There may also be a manufacturer’s coupon (printable from a website or a hard copy found inside a physical store) that offers additional savings per box.

In addition to the sale and coupon, a particular grocer might also have a deal for points cardholders who purchase five boxes of cereal. Overlaying these three discounting techniques could mean, for example, paying just 77 cents per case, Hollett explained.

She described how shopping this way can save families up to several hundred dollars a month and could be applied as early as this week, for example, on items like kids’ lunch kits in Atlantic Canada, a popular brand of cheese crackers in Quebec and a six. pack of facial tissue boxes in Ontario.

It may require a change in mindset and habits for some, as well as additional time commitments, but “it’s about how much work you put in,” Hollett said. “Saving money for families is really hard, so every dollar you save will help you buy other things.”

Look for offers. Teach children to make a budget.

The questions Enoch Omololu has been receiving from readers of his personal finance website reflect the growing economic pressures Canadians are facing, whether it’s inquiries about the suspension of automatic payments, savings vehicles, or people asking about how to take advantage of the PRAE to cover the expenses of their children (the answer to that last question, he pointed out, is that you can’t).

“Disposable income has been stretched to the limit, physically, and people are finding it hard to afford things that they would normally just overlook and pay without thinking,” said the founder of Winnipeg-based SavvyNewCanadians.com.

Shoppers strolling through a mall turn to look at a shoe store displaying red sale signs.
It is not uncommon for children to need multiple pairs of shoes. Talking to your kids about budgeting, saving money, and choosing is one of money expert Enoch Omololu’s tactics. “It’s engaging them in the process and making them realize that funds are not, money is not, an unlimited resource.” (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Among the cost-cutting tips she’s using with her own family this season:

  • Comparison shopping for major purchases, such as electronics, along with searching for manufacturer discounts.

  • Big shopping sales (children’s retailers are up to 75 percent off summer clothing, he says, that could be layered for fall or bought for next year).

  • Looking for gently used items at thrift stores.

  • Weigh which items to spend the most on and opt for generic or discount versions for others.

Omololu also advises involving children in some financial conversations and decision-making.

CLOCK | How Enoch Omololu turns back-to-school shopping into a budgeting lesson:

Teaching kids to budget for back to school

Enoch Omololu, founder of the personal finance website Savvy New Canadians, shares a back-to-school shopping strategy he’s using this year: teaching his eight-year-old about options and budgeting.

Your eight-year-old son, for example, needs three pairs of shoes this fall: an indoor pair for school, one for after-school care, and a third for general outdoor wear.

As a lesson, Omololu made a deal with his son: the young man can choose a brand new pair (for which Omololu will find the lowest possible price). The remaining two pairs will be the ones her mom and dad choose, maybe brand new, maybe from a thrift store. If he destroys the fancy sneakers by kicking rocks, the replacements will also be an affordable pair chosen by his parents.

“It’s getting them involved in the process and realizing that funds are not, money is not, an unlimited resource for [their] parents,” Omololu said.

A preschooler in a colorful shirt holds up crayons that he is using in a Spider-Man coloring page.
Many items will be perfectly fine for another school year, noted Winnipeg parent Bamidele Sanusi, like reusable water bottles, lunch bags, backpacks and the crayons his preschooler, Elliott, enjoys coloring with. (Travis Goldby/CBC)

For some parents, how to pay for back-to-school items was a concern even before school was over. Reusing crayons, water bottles, lunch bags and other supplies for another school term, carefully weighing new versus secondhand purchases and talking to your kids about cutting costs are tactics Winnipeg mom Bamidele Sanusi , is hiring this year.

With his wife currently on maternity leave with their youngest son, the father of three says saving for back-to-school and reducing discretionary spending is important “so we can manage recurring costs, which are rent, gas, phone bills. and the rest. It’s a time to be judicious in spending.”

CLOCK | Rising prices have made back-to-school shopping a challenge for many:

Back-to-school costs worry parents amid inflation

The rising cost of living is prompting some parents to change their spending habits around back-to-school shopping before the next school year.

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