TYLER, Texas (KETK) – It’s that time of year again: back-to-school shopping! The BBB reminds consumers that coming up with a game plan early on will go a long way for this year’s school shopping.

“Planning ahead this back-to-school season will not only help keep expenses to a minimum,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Central East Texas said. “It will allow help maintain stress levels for all involved.”

BBB recommends the following tips when looking for school-related items, either in person or online:

In-Person shopping: Supply chain issues could impact shopping. When getting ready to shop, contact the store directly if you have questions about hours, policies or to see if supplies are in stock.

Research big ticket items: When buying new equipment, check with your child’s school to learn about any technical requirements and determine if any changes are necessary to the home’s high-speed internet.

Shop smart with sales and tax-free weekends: Compare prices between different retail stores, save coupons, sign up for email alerts and redeem any cash-back or rebate offers. Tax-free weekend begins Aug. 5 in Texas. Visit Federation of Tax Administrators for more information.

Ask for discounts: Many stores and software companies offer discounts. Some are available to students with either a “.edu” email address or a student ID. Others may have a discount for signing up for marketing materials or surf the internet for online coupons and discounts (make sure they are affiliated with the retailer). It doesn’t hurt to ask, even if you don’t see a deal advertised at the store.

Consider buying in bulk: Some teachers may ask parents to buy bulk items (paper towels, tissues, wipes, hand sanitizer) for the entire classroom to use throughout the year. Compare lists with other parents and see if costs can be shared.

Shop wisely, safely online: When shopping online, be wary of “clickbait” ads that feature items that imply that you may want or need them based on your search history. Scammers could be trying to drive you to a different website to potentially steal personal information. Take note of the ad and go to the store’s website by directly typing into the search bar.

For more information you can visit BBB Back to School HQ.

Stay up-to-date with the latest local news, sports, weather, politics and more using the KETK mobile app.