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Money Saving Tips For Back-To-School Shopping

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With the back-to-school season fast approaching, there are a few tips that can help families shave a few bucks off of how much they spend on school supplies and shopping. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

The signs are everywhere - sale signs, that is.

For retailers, the back-to-school season is one of the busiest times of the year.

The National Retail Federation says over $26 billion will be spent on back-to-school purchases this year.

"Around $300 per person," says senior editor at RetailMeNot.com Trae Bodge regarding the average family's share.

With a price tag that high, it is no wonder that shoppers hit the stores armed with savings strategies.

"I'm a coupon fanatic," says one shopper. "Actually, I have my coupon booklets with me right now."

"I look for the things that's on sale," another shopper says. "I try to find the bargains."

At this time of year, bargains aren't hard to find, from reduced prices to limited time offers listed in the store's circular.

"For instance, this week it's 10 cents for composition books that normally go for $2.99," says John Condes, a General Manager at Staples.

Condes says the circular is also a great place to find manufacturers' rebates, which might bring the price all way down to free.

Meanwhile at Target, Store Team Leader Dusan Nastic advises shoppers to go generic.

"Pretty much the same product, same quality, except it's Target brand, and it's a lot cheaper and a lot better price," Nastic says.

Another smart way to save is to use a smartphone while shopping.

A store's app or third party coupon apps deliver coupons that can be scanned right to a phone.

Alternatively, use the browser to find other stores with better prices, and ask for a match.

Schools generally distribute a supply list, made even longer lately as parents are asked to supplement classroom items due to budget cuts.

"Cleaning supplies like hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes, these are things that parents should expect to see on those lists," Bodge says.

A great way to save on these items is by partnering with another family or two and buying in bulk. Then, split the cost and the supplies.

Finally, the back-to-school season is a perfect teachable money moment.

Parents can set a budget with their kids, go over needs versus wants and let them pitch in.

"A lot of parents struggle with kids clambering for designer sneakers, that specific hoodie from that specific brand," Bodge says. "This is a really good opportunity for you to say, 'Okay, that puts us X amount over your budget, would you like to supplement that with your allowance money?' And so, then they feel the financial impact themselves, and I think that really teaches them a lot."

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