TOMS RIVER – Experts agree that families will spend an average of $687 per child on back-to-school items for this school year. The National Retail Federation says Americans spent $83.6 billion on back-to-school items last year, up 10 percent from 2016 spending.
Families can trim costs by reusing gently used items from last year. Prioritizing items – keeping in mind those hidden costs related to extracurriculars – and eliminating ultimately unnecessary things from the list helps keep costs down. Most teachers send out lists, so make sure at the very list to fulfill those requests first.
Stephen Scaturro, Director of the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, said New Jersey retailers are required by law to have an “adequate supply” of advertised on-sale items in stock. Consumers should keep their sales receipts and know stores’ return policies.
The same is true with online retailers. Consumers should make sure they know who exactly they’re buying from, and use credit cards for those purchases. Beware of anyone selling items at drastically below market values. As the old saying goes, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Anyone who believes they’ve been scammed should contact the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs at 732-929-2105 to file a complaint.
They can also visit 1027 Hooper Ave., Building 2, or visit co.ocean.nj.us/consumer.