Don’t spend too much on back-to-school shopping

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Pencils and pens and rulers, oh my! School supplies can really add up. Back-to-school is the second-biggest shopping season of the year. Do you know how much you’re spending on all those back-to-school notebooks, clothes, and backpacks?

“They can easily add up to $500 to $1,000 per child in the first 30 days of school,” says Peter Dunn, author of “60 Days to Change: A Daily How-To Guide With Actionable Tips for Improving Your Financial Life.”

Here is how to not get schooled on back-to-school expenses.

I know it sounds weird, but hold off on buying larger, trendier gear. We all know that kids may love a certain lunch box or pencil case they find in July, but once they start school and see that their friends are all using another kind, they will beg you to upgrade them, and that only results in wasted cash if you cave in to these requests.

More than likely you will never get the bigger, popular items such as Paw Patrol lunchbox or book bag cheap. Now smaller items such as pencils, notebooks and folders are safe to purchase when they go on sale. Watch your sales papers and be ready to grab those 10-cent notebooks. When you see a great sale such as that, try to stock up. We all know that kids go through many notebooks in a school year, so go ahead and buy now to save yourself the headache later.

Clothes are probably one of the most expensive items that you will buy for back-to-school. You know as well as I do that kids wear short sleeve polo shirts all year long, so hit the big summer sales and snap up discounted items that can be worn well into fall.

These days you don’t have to hit pricey department stores to get the best look for your child. High-end designers such as Victoria Beckham and Lily Pulitzer have recently started to create discount lines at department stores. You can also get designer labels for less by digging through the racks at stores like Marshalls or T.J. Maxx.

Of course, before you begin your back to school clothes shopping check out the kids’ closets first. Take a day and go through what you already have to see what can still be worn, what needs to be donated, and what you will need for the upcoming year.

To your kids, shopping for new clothes, gear and school supplies may be the only good thing about going back to school, but that does not mean you have to spend a fortune every year. It may seem early to start thinking about the things on your child’s back-to-school shopping list, but if you start early and keep an eye out for certain things, you can save a ton of money.

For some parents, back-to-school shopping is a necessary evil. They look forward to sending their kids back to school after the summer break, but they dread shopping for clothes and school supplies, which can be frustrating and costly. With some careful planning, it doesn’t have to be.

Happy savings!