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Consumer
Savvy back-to-school shoppers use smartphones
NEW YORK (08/10/11)--The 2011 back-to-school shopping season is in full swing, but high fuel prices and a 9.1% unemployment rate are expected to influence consumer buying decisions (investors.com July 27). Clipping coupons may be a thing of the past for many cost-conscious consumers. Nearly two-thirds of bargain-conscious consumers plan to use their smartphones to find the best deals, according to a recent survey commissioned by Deloitte (cnbc.com July 27). The survey showed that shoppers will use cell phones to do more than just identify price information at a particular store. Here are three ways to turn your cellphone into a bargain-hunting machine:
* Discounts. Check with your favorite retailers and see if they use text messaging to send discounts, special offers, and other sale information to consumers. Merchants typically require a shopper to send a text message to a special number to opt-in for the service. Be careful; messaging and data rates may apply. * Purchases. Many retailers have their own smartphone apps or mobile websites. You can use your phone to identify product information and pricing, to make purchases, and potentially to take advantage of deals offered only on a website. This also helps you avoid time-wasting trips to several stores, along with the associated fuel costs. * Barcodes. Several independent smartphone apps let users compare prices of a particular product from different retailers. The app uses a phone’s camera to read the product’s barcode and reveal businesses and their prices for the item.
For related information about school expenses, read “Cost of Attendance: What Does It Mean?” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.


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