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Back-to-school shopping: More tech-savvy than ever
Thursday, July 26th, 2012

By: Sijun Li

Back-to-school shopping just got more advanced – and expensive!

It’s that time again – Summer break is almost over, meaning it’s time to get in that back-to-school mindset again. With about three weeks before the start of school, parents everywhere are preparing to shell out some serious cash to get their kids ready for class.

But as technology advances, shopping for back-to-school isn’t as it used to be anymore, nor is the anticipated budget for it.

School supplies were once easy, cheap and simple. All you needed were some crayons, pens and pencils, folders, paper and a new backpack. Now, with newer and more technologically advanced education tools, many parents have to spend some big bucks on computers and tablets.

A new survey from Coupon Cabin reveals that tech products are becoming more and more of a necessity, even for K-12 students.

• 42% of parents plan to buy new electronic gadgets, such as laptops, tablets, cell phones and e-readers for their children for the upcoming school year.

• 49% of parents said their children’s’ school requires them to purchase certain electronic gadgets for learning purposes.

• 75% of parents are at least somewhat overwhelmed with the cost of purchasing tech devices for their children.
While schools can’t force parents to buy expensive top-of-the-line gadgets for their kids, almost half of all parents feel that it’s a requirement.

When asked which of the following electronic gadgets, if any, their children’s school requires them to purchase, parents with school-age children said:

• Computer – 24 percent
• Mobile phone – 20 percent
• Tablet – 19 percent
• E-reader – 9 percent
• Other – 5 percent
• None – 51 percent

The frugal savvy experts at Miss Money Bee agree that the latest techs and gadgets offer a different, more advanced type of education for students. There are so many different learning apps that can be downloaded, and such technology can truly provided young children the skills they’ll need in the future.

However, we understand that these pricey supplies can really throw off a family’s budget. We’ve come up with a few key points to keep in mind in order to save money this back-to-school season.

1. It’s not mandatory – Teachers cannot force you to buy such expensive gadgets for your child’s education, especially in public schools. If an upcoming activity or lesson takes place on a computer or tablet, then it’s the school’s responsibility to make sure your child has access to it.

2. Shared computers – A lot of assignments, even for students in elementary schools are to be typed now. This helps them learn the basics of computer use and lets them practice their typing skills. Remember that kids can simply use a family computer or go to a local library to get these types of assignments done. Buying them their own personal computer or laptop is unnecessary.

3. Avoid Brand Names – If shopping for a phone, tablet or computer, avoid brand-named gadgets. Instead of a new iPhone, get them a simple prepaid phone where you can add or take away minutes as needed. There’s absolutely no need for expensive Apple products like MacBooks or iPads; chances are, they’re not going to need all the functions. Stick to the cheaper, less hyped-up brands as this will save tons of money and teach valuable lessons to not chase brand-named products.

We hope everyone makes the most of their Summer vacation, and remember to make a budget and STICK TO IT!

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