Frugal tips to ease back-to-school shopping expenses

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Pretty soon school bells will ring and children will start a new school year. Now, many parents are in a mad dash to get their kids ready for back-to-school. While the start of a new school season is exciting for some kids, many parents are worried about the hard hit on their wallets. The anxiety of back-to-shopping can be enormous for some parents due to the high unemployment rate and the ever-increasing cost of household goods.

Start your back-to-school shopping by making a list. Use the recommended or required supply list provided by your child’s school. Take the time to sit down with your child and go over the list. This will help both you and your child get organized and ready for back-to-school. Following are frugal shopping tips offered by the financial experts at Money Management International (MMI) to help you stretch your dollar this season.

Look for special promotions. During this time of the year many stores offer amazing back-to-school sales. Watch out for special promotions such as free shipping and those “buy two for one” deals.

Do your shopping during tax-free days. Tax free weekends usually take place in July or August. This is a great time to buy t-shirts, socks, and school uniforms.

Reuse what you already have. Many school supplies such as backpacks, binders, and pens can have a second life. Take inventory of your leftover supplies from last year to see what can be reused. Also, school supplies from older siblings - that are still in good condition - can be passed down to younger siblings.

Shop at local consignment stores. The end of summer is when many thrift stores receive great, gently-used clothing. These stores offer quality merchandise for very low prices. Thrift stores have strict policies about only accepting items that are in good condition, so you don’t have to worry about buying anything damaged.

Finally, to save on back-to-school shopping it’s important to set a budget and stick to it. With proper planning, you can prepare your children for another school year without breaking the bank. For more tips on raising a frugal family, check out MMI’s new Youth and Money section on MoneyManagement.org.