Guest post by Don Stasiak. Don studied finance in college and now writes columns for financial magazines and blogs. In between projects, he coaches his daughter’s softball team.
With parents across the country stocking up on new pencils, backpacks and calculators, back-to-school shopping is in full swing and will keep going strong through the first few weeks of school. According to Laura Carroll of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the amount spent on back to school purchases is expected to increase by 14 percent over last year’s spending.
As long as you’re reaching deeper into your pockets for this upcoming school season, make sure you’re equipping your kids with the best possible supplies, especially when it comes to expensive technology purchases. Here are four tips to consider as you send your little scholars back to the classroom.
Purchase All-In-One Devices
While it may seem like you’re saving money by buying a one-function printer, you’ll probably end up paying more when you have to go elsewhere for scanning jobs and photo printing. When you’re buying a new printing device for your student, spring for the all-in-one models with high-quality scanning and color printing capabilities. There’s a good chance that your student — and other family members — will need those functions later on.
Protect Them from Identity Theft
If you think the adults in your family are the only ones who need to be guarded against theft, think again. Between aggressive credit card offers and public computer use on and around campus, college students can be some of the most vulnerable targets for identity theft. Young children can also have their identities stolen if someone gains access to their Social Security numbers. To give you and your family full protection, consider investing in LifeLock, a service that will monitor your identities, track credit scores and provide an immediate response to any threats or attacks. For parents who don’t have the time or resources to fully monitor their own identities — let alone the identities of their children — this service can step in and give them peace of mind.
Use Online Shopping Lists
Online shopping has become an increasingly popular option for parents who would rather avoid crowded store aisles and long lines. The National Retail Federation reported 17.9 percent of their survey participants plan to shop online, as opposed to 15.3 percent last year. Fortunately, Wal-Mart is offering a new option that makes online school supply shopping much more convenient. Carroll writes that “teachers can digitally submit their classroom supply lists, and online shoppers can buy those items via classrooms.walmart.com.” Find out if your children’s school has a program like this. If not, recommend they implement this time-saver for the following year.
Be on the Lookout for New Apple Products
Before you spring for your child’s new iPhone or iPad, consider waiting a few months to make this purchase. Mike Carrall of Stark Insider reports that reliable Apple rumors point to a new iPhone release in September, along with the possible debut of a smaller version of the iPad. In order to take advantage of the newest improvements and updates for these products, hold off on buying them until after the release. If your college student is leaving for school and absolutely needs a new smart phone before September, the Android-based Galaxy S III is a solid and popular choice this summer.
Making smart back-to-school tech decisions will not only give children an edge and provide them with protection, but it can also make the shopping process much easier for parents. Follow these four technology-buying tips in order to be a successful shopper and give your kids the best possible start for the new school year.