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Back-to-school credit guide 2016

Summary

CreditCards.com resources for shopping, learning about credit and managing debt during the back to school season.

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The days of summer are dwindling, which means it’s almost time for children and young adults to go back to school. For many parents this means shopping trips for supplies, clothing and paying tuition bills. For the older students, it also means new experiences with college – and paying for it. This guide is aimed at helping you make the smart and money-saving choices.

Families plan to spend more on back-to-school expenses this year than in 2015. According to the National Retail Federation’s annual back-to-school survey, spending on K-12 and college school supplies and related costs is expected to reach $75.8 billion this year, up from $68 billion last year. That amounts to $674 per back-to-school household.

estimated household spending on back-to-school from NRF

Whether you’re in school, financing someone else’s education or preparing for post-graduation financial independence, how you use and protect your credit this fall matters.

To help your back-to-school process go smoothly, check out this collection of credit-oriented articles to kick off another season of learning


Back-to-school shopping

Save on back-to-school spending with rewards
Have a lot of shopping to do? Stretch your back-to-school budget further by using credit card rewards.

Card-linked offers: Shopping deals you’re not aware of
Take advantage of automatic discounts applied when you use a certain credit card at a participating merchants.

7 tips for saving time, money when shopping online
Save from the comfort of your couch.

7 ways to get the most from rewards credit cards
Think a rewards card will help you make the most of all the shopping you’ll be doing this fall? Here’s what to look for when selecting the best rewards card for you.

Managing your fashion-forward teen’s clothing allowance
If your teenager is hoping to revamp their wardrobe before heading back to school, consider setting a shopping budget to help teach them fiscal responsibility – and keep your own budget in check.

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Cards on campus

4 reasons why college kids need a credit card
You may want to shelter your college student from the complicated world of credit (and debt), but at some point they will need to learn the ropes.

18 and ready for first card: Begin here
Are you a young adult thinking about applying for your first credit card? Read this before you do anything else.

What to look for when committing to a campus card
Debit or prepaid accounts linked to a college ID card can be a useful tool for students, but proceed take caution when opening such accounts.

Looking for the best student credit card for you or your child? Compare student credit card offers.


Managing education costs

How to avoid crushing student loan debt
Comparing schools, applying for grants and scholarships, and working part-time while in college are just a few steps that may ease the long-term financial burden that often accompanies paying for college.

Credit card tuition payment survey 2014: Fees, restrictions wipe out dreams of rewards
Paying tuition with credit cards is possible at most large colleges, but in most cases, expect to pay a convenience fee substantial enough to wipe out any rewards earned by doing so.

The new math: Working through college may not pay off
Working to help pay for school may be financially beneficial, but is the additional time spent in college worth the extra dollars earned? Weigh the pros and cons of working through school.

Student loan debt regret
Burdened with heavy student loan debts, 12 grads share their regrets and offer tips on how future students can avoid the same pricey mistakes.


Safety and security

Protect your child’s data, privacy at school: 5 tips
The cloud-based storage technology used in many schools puts data about your children onto remote servers. Here’s what to know and do to safeguard that information.

How to check your child’s credit report
Typically, children shouldn’t have credit reports. If they do, it could be an indication of fraud. Follow these guidelines to find out what if your child actually has a credit report and what to do if fraud is suspected.

10 ways students can protect against identity theft
Campuses are often a young adult’s first step away from the safety of home, so they need to raise their technological guard.

Keys to safe credit, debit card use on campus
College students are only beginning lifelong journeys with credit and debit cards. Here is how to safely start that payment card adventure.


Financial literacy

Financial literacy online resources for parents, children
Want to raise money-smart kids? These resources will help.

What kids should know about money, at what age
These milestones can help you guide your children – even those as young as three   toward a financially healthy future. 

More parents giving their kids credit cards
The number of children ages 8-14 with access to their parents’ credit cards has quadrupled in the past four years. Is it time for your kid to get a card?

Top 10 ways students can build good credit
A good credit score is important, and experts say following these 10 steps can put a student on the right credit path.

Additional reporting contributions from Kim Carmona and Kristen Cabrera

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Published: May 3, 2016

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