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SALT LAKE CITY -- According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, the average family has more than half of their back-to-school shopping to complete, and one-third of families with school-age children haven't even started.
Times are tough, and a lot of parents don't have the spending money they used to.
"Things are a little bit tighter this year," Tonia Wensel said. "Trying to save more when you have a larger family, you tend to kind of have to divvy it out and even it out between all of them.""We're just not buying as much this year," said Steve Coss. "I was laid off seven months ago, so we're tapering back quite a bit." Utah stores haven't seen the business they normally do during the back-to-school shopping season. The Utah Retail Merchants Association reports sales in July were down 4 to 6 percent from last year.
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-National Retail Association
"JC Penny [has] been a good one," Wensel said. "It seems like the stores are kind of feeling the crunch too, so they've been able to offer some pretty good deals."
Another parent, Pamela Jensen, said, "We're finding some pretty good deals. Jeans at Gap were good, and when you're buying for twins it's a good bargain."Coss said he's been hitting the discount stores, and many families say they'll be recycling items. "It's one of those things where we've stocked up in years past. We're using what we've stocked up in previous years. We're kind of doing things that way, this time around," Wensel said.
Jensen told us, "We kept the backpacks from last year, so we're recycling those. Anything that's paper or notebooks that are still in good shape, we keep those also."
Sales and coupons can be a big incentive for shoppers, especially now. Parents say they are finding some deals at stores and online. [CLICK HERE to see some of those deals]