It’s back-to-school season, when stores stack their aisles high with folding chairs and mini-fridges meant for students heading to college or back to college. What do you actually need, though, and how should you shop for it? What should you spend a lot on, and what can you leave behind? Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports have some ideas about what new students should shop for, and how to shop for it. [More]
It’s a time-honored back-to-school tradition: some states use the season as an excuse to offer tax holidays. That’s when they suspend the sales tax on certain items, like new clothing and school supplies, to decrease the financial burden on parents and encourage everyone to shop a little more. While shoppers love it, this doesn’t really work as an economic stimulus, since shoppers just shift planned purchases from other times to the tax holiday. [More]
Here’s a mind-boggling number: this year, American families are predicted to spend $540 billion on back-to-school shopping, or roughly the gross domestic product of Belgium. Where will they spend that money? Staples is still coming off a rough breakup after the Federal Trade Commission stood in the way of its proposed merger with OfficeMax, and really hopes that you spend some of your money there. [More]
Back in July, early research showed that families planned to spend slightly more on back-to-school shopping than last year. A different survey by the National Retail Federation shows that families plan to spend less on back-to-school shopping this year. In addition to starting the back-to-school season earlier, it seems that retailers are extending it for longer, realizing that youngsters have learned to bargain-hunt as well as their parents.
Years ago, I temped for about six months in an office where an artificial evergreen tree in one lobby was always on display, decorated for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, or any other event that the tree’s owner felt like observing. I’m not sure whether that creative person or even the holiday mashup artists over at Hobby Lobby would have ever thought of this decoration that reader Jason recently shared with Consumerist, though. [More]
If you’ve visited a big-box or office-supply store in recent weeks, you know that retailers are ready for the back-to-school shopping season to begin, even if children aren’t. You can’t blame stores for being excited, though: parents say that they plan to spend more on outfitting their kids for school this year than they have in recent years. [More]
Okay, we get that it’s difficult to swap out seasonal sections in retail stores, and that items sell out when we think it might be too “early” for the next holiday to come along. However, Michael spotted an odd combination of one retail “holiday,” back to school season, and the following holiday, Halloween. [More]
Earlier today, the calendar flipped from July to August, and kids everywhere groaned with the realization that they will soon have to be going back to school. But the even louder grousing you’re hearing this morning is from parents envisioning their bank accounts being drained by purchases of backpacks, clothes, pencils (do kids even use those anymore?), and those individual packs of tissues that will never be used but you buy anyway. What some of these parents don’t know is that a number of states have sales tax holidays in August — many of them starting today — to ease the burden of back-to-school spending. [More]
In a far off land called the District of Columbia, there lives an entire population of people who are considered Americans and as such, have the proper identification noting that fact. But one Transportation Security Administration agent in Orlando may need a brush-up on the makeup of these United States, after reportedly not realizing that a reporter’s Washington D.C. license is a valid form of ID. [More]
Staples, the big-box office and school-supplies superstore, isn’t messing around. Sure, the school year hasn’t even ended for the summer in all places in the company’s home state of Massachusetts, but that doesn’t matter. Nope. Staples wants your back-to-school business, and will price-match anyone, even Amazon, to get it. [More]
Depending on where in the country you live, school just got out for the summer, or is about to. Naturally, in the world of retail, this means that it’s time to put on some back-to-school sales. While a link to that special section on the JCPenney site made the rounds over the weekend, selling back-to-school stuff before school is even out is more popular than you might think. [More]
Last week, we mentioned that even though some schools have just recently finished for the school year, retailers are already beginning their back-to-school promotions. We wondered (and hoped) that this was just an anomaly and that we weren’t seeing evidence of Back-To-School Creep, but people who know a thing or two about the retail business say it’s a growing trend. [More]
Holiday Creep is the retail phenomenon where retailers market holidays earlier and earlier in order to maximize their sales of Christmas trees or chocolate eggs. We all know Christmas Creep and Easter Creep, but is back-to-school creep a thing? How early is too early to start getting ready for the next school year? [More]
Teachers in high-poverty school districts like Rachael provide, at their own expense, a lot of pretty basic supplies for their students. They do this with the help of back-to-school loss-leader sales at big-box office supply stores. Staples lets them buy twenty-five boxes of crayons for a penny each, and in return the teachers give Staples their undying gratitude and devotion. But Staples, at least in the Northwest where Rachael live, has stopped easing purchase limits for teachers. Teachers are now limited to two of each loss-leader item instead of as many as twenty-five. And while she understands why the company couldn’t continue this incredible generosity, it makes her sad.
Juggling parenthood and college classes is no easy feat, and even tougher when you consider the financial side of the equation. Any scholarships out there help, and it so happens that there are several out there earmarked for mothers attempting to better their career prospects by earning degrees.
Kids tend to treat themselves as pack mules, piling heavy books into bags, then lugging them around to the detriment of their necks and backs.
While most states’ summer sales-tax holidays have come and gone, shoppers in six states — Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Texas — still have a chance to take advantage of tax-exempt shopping on a variety of things from clothing to school supplies.