It’s that “wonderful” time of year again. Students are gearing up for a new school semester, gathering the supplies they’ll need for their courses and ensuring they’re well prepared for their first days back in class. Retailers – ever so helpful – make it an easy process by dedicating entire sections of their stores to back-to-school swag. And for those who prefer shopping from the comfort of their own homes (or aren’t quite ready to come to terms with summer’s end), there are plenty of online deals to be had.
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With that in mind, companies are aggressively marketing back-to-school solutions and products right now, making it easy to splurge on scholarly nice-to-haves. It’s time to take a peek in those long-forgotten backpacks and remember what got you through the previous year, and figure out what you really need to shell out for to make this school year even more successful than the last.
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Back-to-School Buying Habits to Change
According to Ernst & Young’s recently published 2015 back-to-school retail trends forecast, spending will be up 4 per cent this year. That might seem unlikely considering the Canadian dollar has taken a hit as of late, but it’s having the opposite effect; sales will spike strictly at Canadian retail outlets, rather than shoppers travelling south of the border.
Another point to consider is that trends change from year to year; for my generation, growing up meant trying to stay on top of said trends. Remember Zwipes? At one point, everyone in my life had one (and everyone’s parents were barraged with pleas for them). However, it’s expected that trends like this will be few and far between as a recession affects overall spending, and Canadians, uncertain of the economy, are more value-driven. At the end of the day, it’ll come down to asking yourself: “do I really need this?”.
Also read: Back to School at a Bargain>
Know Your Options
Back-to-school basics have expanded from just pens, paper and notepads to include laptops and tablets – and the list seems to go on indefinitely. So, where’s the best place to score your school gear? Department and stationary stores seem to advertise the most – and carry the largest stock – for back-to-school shopping. Their aim is to be your one-stop-shop for clothes, food, school supplies – you name it – so it’s important to compare flyers before walking through the door.
Plan Beyond the Pencil Case
Other costs to be considered during the back-to-school period that are sometimes overlooked include: doctor visits, immunizations, as well as a visit or two for a dentist or specialist appointment of any sort. If you are entering your first year of post-secondary, it is important to visit your school’s website and find out what you are covered for, as you are entitled to an allotted amount for the academic year. A bonus for those who are still be under a parent’s benefit package: most schools packages often combine with your existing coverage!
Get Your Head in the School Zone
Back-to-school shopping is about more than stocking up on supplies – it’s a mental refresher for those winding down their summers, and a good way to go from lazy days to a new daily routine. Take a deep breath, and good luck!