Debt Limits Your Back to School Shopping Choices

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Debt Limits Your Back to School Shopping Choices

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The month of August has me thinking about the upcoming school year. For years, school shopping meant visiting retailers for which we had a store credit card such as Kohl's and Old Navy. The minimum payment may go up a little, but it meant no immediate money out of our pocket.

We just dug ourselves a little deeper into the spiraling hole of debt.

I was walking through Costco over the weekend and saw a display of backpacks. My son, who will be a high school sophomore, carries such an enormous amount of stuff around in his backpack that the straps had almost ripped completely through by the end of the year. I was inspecting the construction of the two types of backpacks as he obviously needs something heavy duty:

  • Backpack #1: Average to above average construction costing $18. I doubted this one would make it through 9 months of high school wear and tear.
  • Backpack #2: Super heavy duty construction normally priced at $34, but with a $7 instant rebate it had a sale price of $27.

I couldn't remember how much we had paid for backpacks in years past, but decided $27 now was worth not having to look for another backpack later in the year. I brought it to the checkout counter, and paid cash.

Later that day, we were walking through a different retailer and saw a display of backpacks. Looking through the different varieties on the racks, I became increasingly happy with my purchase at Costco.

  • Backpack A: Name brand, but cheaply constructed. Normally $60, on sale for $35.
  • Backpack B: Name brand, but similar in durability to what we purchased at Costco. Normally $90, on sale for $60.

I showed Vonnie, and we both shook our heads. We both knew that in years past, we would have been forced to overpay, and buy the $60 backpack because we were in one of the stores for which we had a store credit card.

Being in debt had limited our shopping choices and most likely cost us money on countless occasions.

This year is different because we have completed our debt consolidation program and no longer have a huge credit card debt payment to make each month. For the first time I can remember, we have complete freedom to price compare and buy the items that are not only the best choice for our kids, but also the best choice for our checkbook.

In what ways has being in debt limited your shopping choices?

Related Links:

Great School Shopping Adventure

The Unfortunate Effects of Debt

Back to School...Let the Fundraising Begin


Travis Pizel, debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Travis Pizel

Travis is a contributing writer for the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. He is also a very active member of the CareOne community forums. Travis is currently enrolled in a CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Travis candidly shares his personal journey to pay off his debt and the tips he's learned along the way. As a father and husband he provides a unique perspective on balancing debt, finances, and family in Minnesota. You can also read more from Travis on the Enemy of Debt blog, where he is a featured blogger. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.

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  • It always seems funny to hear myself say, "now that I have more money, I can shop at the cheaper stores!"  But it's true.

  • Your statement made me smile, Sassy Mamaw....I've said the exact same thing!  Saving money by being out of debt......who would have thought?

  • Actually, there are many other ways that limited our school choices. Sudden Illness that you might end paying high medical costs. Other things like any family event or your pet sick. I would recommend the best way to prevent yourself from debts is to save some money from your monthly pay.

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