Families are spending more on back-to-school supplies than ever before.
The average family will spend about $688 on school items this season, according to the National Retail Federation. That is a 14-percent increase over last year.
“Sometimes you have to get to everything before everybody else starts shopping. This is the time now,” said Alfred Mayo, a parent from New Britain.
“It’s mayhem it's crazy yeah. Everybody has their list you're trying to figure out your budget with the list,” said Stacy Nelson.
Stores like Walmart in Newington try to make shopping easier for parents.
“What we do is contact the locals schools in the community and find out what the items are that the kids have to bring to school and then we just form a list and we post it in the front of the store for all the customers,” said Robert Davis.
Most parent save money by salvaging supplies from the last school year. Another tip: comparison shop online or by checking store circulars. This time of year it is not only the big discount chains that are offering good deals, according to experts.
Parents should also look for creative discounts. For instance, during the month of August, kids in kindergarten through sixth grade get free haircuts at JC Penney salons nationwide.
“It’s been fantastic. We've done over 2,070 appointments that we've set and we've cut over 1,000 children haircuts,” said Mary Ellen Repoli, Salon Leader at the JC Penney Salon at Westfarms Mall in Farmington. “Parents have been so appreciative, it’s been overwhelming and there’s been so many people that are thankful in such a heartfelt way that we’ve been able to accommodate their children this way."
This is also a good time to buy a computer. Experts expect to find the lowest prices on laptops this month. Also, be sure to watch for special student discounts on electronics.
With the average family spending about 30 percent of a back-to-school budget on new clothes, many take advantage of Connecticut's "sales tax-free week" giving shoppers a seven-day hiatus from paying the state sales tax on clothing and footwear up to $300 dollars. The "tax holiday" runs through Aug. 25.