You can still get what you need on a budget

ShopSmart offers back-to-school savings advice


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – School bells are ringing around our area again, but if you're still scrambling to get your kids ready for back to school, it's not too late to get your last-minute shopping done on a budget.

We turned to Jody Rohlena with Consumer Reports ShopSmart Magazine for advice to get everything you need without spending a ton.

She said, "If you've waited until the last minute you are not out of luck!"

ShopSmart Magazine just finished searching high and low for the absolute lowest prices for back to school items. Rohlena said that even if you're just getting started, you can still save. It just depends on where you shop.

"I would head over to Walmart or Target." Rohlena told me. "They've got the lowest prices based on what we found when we sent our secret shoppers out shopping."

On average, ShopSmart found you'll pay less than half price for most supplies at Walmart. That's compared to Office Depot and Staples.

If your kids still need back to clothes, Walmart and Target are still great options. No matter where you're shopping, however, Rohlena said hit the clearance racks first.

"Definitely look at the summer clearance stuff before you look at the back to school clothing sales," she said. "Those things are all rock bottom prices and they're the same kinds of things that you are looking to wear anyway. Shorts and t-shirts, socks and basics like that."

If you can't find everything you're looking for on the clearance racks, Rohlena recommended, "You can look at the things that are for fall that are still on sale but they're still going to cost you a little bit more."

One more thing that can help you save, If you find an item in one store, but know that it's cheaper somewhere else, ask about price matching policies. Most stores have them and all you have to do is bring in the ad or call it up on your smart phone. Most times, they will match the price.