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Radio Tour: Does Price Matter? You Betcha'

Price, price, price.

There's been a lot of talk about how price-sensitive consumersare these days, but if you had any doubt about how relevant this is to actual shoppers—banish it.

Radio Microphone
Radio Microphone

My managing editor likes to talk about how radio can help keep you straightabout what actual Americans want to know because radio hosts tend to be more in touch with their audiences.

I just did a round of radio station interviews and the question that kept coming up is how can shoppers save money this back-to-school season.

They wanted details—hard and concrete advice. So we chatted about making budgets, and buying only what you really need to buy. But many of the hosts were most interested in finding out where the deals might be.

So I told them about how prices have been coming down at teen apparel stores such as Aeropostale, the Gap and children's clothing store Gymboree. And the deals that can be found by searching online. (For more on this, read Parents Vs. Stores: Who Blinks First)

They also liked the tips about how online shopping can help you be more disciplined about your budget. (It's easier to dump something out of your shopping cart online than it is standing in front of a salesperson inside a store.) Perhaps that's why we're seeing such a surge in online shopping this back-to-school season.

And what's the biggest budget-buster: your kids.

One radio station host suggest you leave the little tikes at home, but if that's not a possibility, I suggest you give in on one item they pick out. Make that your splurge—and, if you're lucky, perhaps you were going to buy it for them anyway.

They other thing they wanted to know is how bad is it really out there in retail land.

There's been so much doom and gloom in the headlines. It's a tougher call. The words from some retailers have been omnious, but there have been some retailers performing well. (We've recently called out earnings from Williams-Sonoma and Macy's.)

I suspect performance will be choppy this back-to-school season. Some retailers will get it right, and others will fail miserably. And what separates the two? Well, in part, we're talking about price again, aren't we?

Thanks to WTBX/WNMT, "The Art of the Interview," WPCV, WLW, XMRadio 173, KIQO-Q, WBWZ.

Questions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com