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Did you know that 60% of parents find it hard to afford back-to-school supplies for their children? This is easy to believe when you learn that the average back-to-school cost for school supplies and extracurricular fees is around $662 for elementary school students, $1,001 for middle school students, and $1,489 for high school students.

However, back-to-school shopping does not have to always be this expensive. Here are some tips for parents to help minimize your back-to-school costs:

1. Round Up Your Supplies

Your first step should be collecting all the supplies that you already have. Gather everything left over from the last school year and put them in a central location. Next go through your kid’s closet to see how much clothing still fits. Donate anything that they have outgrown. You should now have a clear picture of what you need to buy for this year, and won’t end up purchasing anything you already have. Check with the school to get a list of the recommended back-to-school supplies to make sure that you aren’t buying anything that your child won’t need.

2. Do Your Homework

Shop around in order to find out which store will give you the most bang for your buck. Research when different stores have sales on their back-to-school supplies. Check both online and in flyers before heading out to shop. Local stores may offer better deals on their back-to-school sales than big box department stores. Dollar stores are often great when it comes to getting school supplies at a reasonable price.

3. Hold Off on Buying New Outfits

Prices on back-to-school clothing often go down in September, after the rush to get new outfits is over. You may want to buy a few new outfits for the first days of school now, and then wait to do the majority of your clothes shopping. Thrift stores may also offer great deals on clothing for your children as well.

4. Quality is Worth the Cost

Buying higher quality products will ultimately save you money in the long run because you won’t need to replace them as often. Plastic folders often hold up better than paper folders and your child can get a few years of use out of them. A durable backpack may also last your child all throughout high school.

5. Get the Discount

If you are buying supplies for multiple children, you might consider buying your supplies in bulk. Stores often offer discounts when you buy large quantities of their products. Don’t forget that coupons are also a great way to score a discount. Download money-saving coupon apps and sign up for store emails to get notified of school supplies coupons you can use.

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