According to the National Retail Federation, the average American household spends $685 on back-to-school shopping for children in elementary through high school and $943 for young adults going to college. Here are a few ways to save …

Create a checklist and stick to it.
Before you shop, empty your kids’ backpacks to see what was left over from last year. Mark them off your checklist and buy only the items still remaining.

Shop without the kids.
Backpacks and notepads with your kids’ favorite superhero can be 30% or more expensive than generic kinds. If your kids insist on a trendy backpack, buy patches and fabric paint to decorate a less expensive one themselves.

Comparison shop online before going into stores.
You’ll save on time and gas money.

Give your kids a clothing budget and a list of necessities.
You decide what items they must have, then with the remainder of the budgeted money, let them choose what they want.

Set up e-mail alerts for sales.
Websites like Dealnews.comBensbargains.comand will let you know when coupons or great deals are available for specific items.

Follow your favorite stores and brands on social media.
You’ll be one of the first to find out when they’re offering deals and special promotions.

Buy school supplies in bulk.
Although you’ll have a large initial expense, in the long run the supplies will be cheaper, and you’ll have them on hand for last minute projects throughout the year.

Attend yard sales for clothing.
Websites like and neighborhood Facebook pages are great online resources for finding bargains in your area.

Wait until August or September to buy school supplies.
That’s when the prices drop significantly. You can even buy for the following year.