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UW-Extension offers tips for fall school shopping
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DARLINGTON - To help with back-to-school shopping, the Lafayette County University of Wisconsin-Extension is offering tips to save on money, including involving kids in back-to-school shopping which can help them learn to be smart consumers.

Involving the whole family allows for a chance to show kids how to plan and make smart budget decisions. Begin with a plan and get kids involved.

Mary Knellwolf, UW-Extension family living agent in Lafayette County, offers other step-by-step processes to guide families through the back-to-school shopping season, including:

• Go through school supplies and clothes from last year and list all of the items and clothes that are already on hand.

• Determine which items must be purchased. Using the child's school supply list will help, as well as a list including needed additional clothes.

• Come up with a realistic total budgeted amount for supplies and clothing for each child in school. Get the kids involved. Explain that there are many options available for buying the things they need.

• Engage younger children in learning about how much things cost and how adults make spending decisions. Have children set spending limits on each category or item and help them understand those limits.

• Be careful about using credit. Try to pay for back-to-school shopping with cash or from a checking account.

• Get started early. Because new clothes can be expensive, think about garage sales, friends or relatives with kids who are a little older, as well as resale and thrift stores.

• Try to find large-ticket items like sports equipment, scientific calculators or musical instruments used or online.

Parents need to plan for fees paid directly to the school. Check school enrollment dates and fees, such as book rentals, band instrument rental or athletic fees and required immunizations. List these fixed costs in the "must have" category.

For more information, contact Knellwolf at 608-776-4820.