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According to NRF this year, families will spend an average of just over $600 to get their kid’s ready for Back To School!! $600!?!?! That blows me away!

Here’s the breakdown according to the National Retail Federation: Most families agree that growing children means growing apparel budgets. Spending on apparel will take up the majority of consumers’ budgets with the average family of school-aged kids expected to spend $225.47 on jeans, shirts and other types of clothing. Running the gamut from laptops and net books to smart phones and MP3 players, parents are expected to spend an average of $181.60 on their children’s electronic or computer-related school needs. Families will also spend an average of $102.93 on shoes and $96.39 on school supplies.

Back to School is kind of like Christmas, if we let it sneak up on us, we will spend an obscene amount of money getting our kid’s ready for school. But if we plan our purchases and keep our eyes peeled throughout the year, we can spend significantly less!! Here are my tips:

Reuse. Just because it’s a new school year, doesn’t mean your kids need Brand New Everything. Go through the supplies that they have and decide what they can reuse. Items like Backbacks, Lunchboxes, Binders and Calculators can often be reused.

Plan Ahead & Look for Good Quality Basics throughout the year. Shop clothing clearance sales, consignment sales and garage sales all year round. Anticipate what your kids will need for back to school and what size they will be- and shop when the price is right. If your kids are older and more opinionated, this may be a little harder, but you can still find the bascis for then in advance and then take them to buy a few current styles right before they start school

Get Your Kids Involved. Give your kids their budget and have them make a list. Have them separate “wants” from “needs” and let them decide what gets nixed if you are over budget. Also, for older kids, let them bring some of their own money to the table for the 6th shirt that they swear they will die without.

Look for Coupons Before You Go Shopping. (Duh). Whether you are shopping Staples, Rite Aid, or Old Navy search for coupons before you shop. Right now there are tons of Office Supply printable coupons (like spend $25, save $5), plus retail stores want you in their store so they are offering lots of coupons as incentive. Of course, The Krazy Coupon Lady will report on these coupons as we find them.

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What are your tips for spending less getting kids ready for school?!