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Time To Start Back to School Shopping

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Are you planning for Back to School shopping?  My recommendation… it NOW!

Your kids may not be back in classrooms for weeks, but smart shoppers are hitting stores earlier than usual according to the logistics team at the Target on Alpine Avenue NW.

“We are seeing the same craze as usual but parents are coming in earlier this year,” said Target’s logistics executive Tracie Redick. “A lot of them are couponing because people are paying attention to price changes more.”

The Grand Rapids Press reports using coupons may not be such a bad idea when some sources claim that school supplies are costing families about 25 percent more than last summer.

Huntington Bank’s annual Backpack Index survey found families will spend up to 25 percent more on school supplies than they did last year. Middle school supply prices shot up 25 percent, elementary school supplies increased 12 percent and high school supplies rose 9 percent, according to the Backpack Index survey.

Huntington attributes the percent increases to small price hikes on items such as college prep books and schools adding items to required supplies lists.

Despite Huntington’s forecast, Target and Meijer are not noticing school supply price increases.

“If anything people are buying extra things because they are at good prices, that is normal behavior, but we are hearing more comments about it than usual,” Redick said.

Calculators are the most expensive school item on Target’s shelves, some calculators costing over $100.

“Going back to school is a $55 billion shopping event, retailers call it the dog day of summers because consumers are out of their normal shopping patterns,”said Josh Elledge, of “So the sooner retailers can get consumers back into a regular schedule, the better. They use school starting as an indicator.”

Elledge was surprised to see major retailers sending product to stores before July. Like Redick, he credits it to shoppers wanting to get school shopping done sooner.

So, the best way to save money on school this year may be to spend it sooner rather than later.

“The absolute best deals are for the early birds, the ones who procrastinate until the week before get the crumbs.”

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