Batavia Windom has five children and will tell you she’s on a tight budget for back-to-school shopping.
“I pick up as I go, so I don’t get bombarded all at once,” said Windom.
Windom and her friend Harriet Westley, who has four children returning to the classroom, have been searching for nearly a month for great bargains.
This outing landed both moms at a 99 Cent Only store.
“I’m looking for the best bargains (on) pencils, pens, notebooks… if I can get them for $0.99, it saves for me,” said Westley.
Back-to-school shopping is the second largest shopping season of the year, after Christmas. Nationally, sales tally somewhere around $68 billion.
Competition for shoppers is fierce and starts early. While some retailers lingered on half-off summer sales, discount stores have already billed themselves as “back-to-school headquarters.”
“We go to the 99 Cent only store… we’re here twice, maybe three times a week,” said Michael Gillette.
The average family, such as Melissa Brown’s, will spend about $450 for school items this year; she says there’s a method to saving money in such a tough economy, no matter where you shop.
“You start at the warehouses, and you watch your prices and you know exactly what you need, so you don’t have a lot of waste, and you come in and shop early,” said Brown.