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Tips for Back-to-School Shopping on a Budget

Whether your child is starting first grade or heading off to college, back-to-school time can wreak havoc on your wallet. Fortunately, it doesn't have to. From shopping for clothes and desk accessories to computers and dorm-room furniture, it's important to plan ahead. If you don't, your bills could be sky high. To avoid overspending when shopping for school articles, Bidville.com, an online auction Web site, provides the following tips.

* Take inventory. Before you head out to buy the "in" outfit of the season, the expensive crayon set or the latest dorm-room accessory, take inventory of what you already have. For instance, you may find an unused notebook lying around. After seeing what you do have, formulate a list of what you need. * Search for savings.

Look for store coupons and sales in your local newspaper. On Sundays, many local newspapers include ad supplements filled with store savings for the upcoming week. Once you've compared prices from store to store and found the best deals on the items that you need, you'll be ready to shop. * Shop online. You'll often find the best prices on school items online. On Bidville.com, for instance, you can find various back-to-school items, including clothes, backpacks, furniture, electronics and even textbooks that you can bid on or buy at fixed prices. * Buy in bulk. Buying supplies like pens or notebooks in large quantities can save you money in the long run. If the quantity is too large, see if you can split the cost and the items with another parent who's shopping for school supplies.

* Stick to the list. Only buy the items that are on the list of necessities that you created before you started shopping. Sticking to the list will help you stick to your budget.


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