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Tips for back-to-school shopping

Back-to-school shopping in Florida and across the nation can put a huge dent in the budget, especially for someone buying clothes or sending a student to college. According to the Huffington Post, however, there are several ways shoppers can avoid going into excessive credit card debt as they prepare for the school year. Planning and preparation will help keep finances under control.

First, set a budget and stick to it. Shoppers should make an extensive list so they know what they need. Some stores have the lists required for each school near all of the back-to-school supplies. Second, if at all possible, consumers should use a credit card that they can pay off immediately. They should read the fine print if they have any questions about the terms.

Third, individuals should consider paying for school supplies with cash. Even if they think they can't afford to pay with cash, the best way to use it is by withdrawing the exact amount necessary, according to a budget, and once it runs out, shopping should be completed. Fourth, credit card holders should sign up for a rewards deal, usually offered at the beginning of every quarter, in order to save up to 10 percent.

Fifth, people should be wary of in-store credit cards. While an initial discount might sound attractive, some of the cards have unreasonably high interest rates. If one opens new cards at too many locations, they could see their credit scores drop. Sixth, consumers shouldn't take out a payday loan, which can cost them more than 400 percent more in interest. Seventh, shoppers should take their time when shopping. If they rush, they are likely to overspend. Back-to-school shopping along with unexpected expenses can throw a person's budget for a loop. A bankruptcy lawyer might be able to provide financial counsel for struggling clients.

Source: Huffington Post, "7 Huge Mistakes Back-to-School Shoppers Make", Adam Levin, August 08, 2013

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