As we head into September, there’s one thing on the mind of many parents – school. In this blog post, we are counting down 5 of our favourite back-to-school shopping tips to help you make informed purchasing decisions.

  1. Ask about return and refund policies. Did you know retailers can set their own return and refund policies? It’s important to ask about these policies before you buy, as stores are not required by law to accept refunds, exchanges or provide in-store credits.
  2. Know the true cost of what you’re buying. If you have a teen heading out on his or her own, you may be purchasing new furniture on credit. Make sure you’re aware of the interest rate being charged and any additional fees or costs associated with the purchase. Know your obligations regarding penalties for late payments.
  3. Plan ahead. Put together a budget and identify which items are a “need” versus a “want.” If you know what items are absolutely necessary, you can shop around for the best prices. (Check out this budgeting tool from the Government of Canada.)
  4. Know what to expect with gift cards. You may give your kids a mall card or a pre-loaded credit card to do their back-to-school shopping on their own. While most gift cards can’t have fees or expiry dates, there are some exceptions. For instance, mall cards are allowed to have fees and pre-loaded credit cards can have expiry dates and fees.
  5. Read the fine print when cosigning on a credit card. Do your research before co-signing for a credit card. Make sure you understand interest rates, how long any introductory rates apply and what happens if your son or daughter defaults on their payment.


Our top 5 tips for online shopping
Tips if you’re buying a used cell phone
Dear Consumer Protection BC: returns and refunds