Back-to-school shopping secrets

Experts say school supply lists are longer this year than ever before, but that doesn't mean you have to spend more than ever.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average family will spend 670 dollars on back to school shopping, with everything from supplies to electronics to clothes.

Mom Colleen Scanlan is convinced she's found the best way to shop. For eight years now, she's used a website called www.schooltoolbox.com. The website enables buyers to select their child's school, and get their box of supplies delivered either to their home or the school.

"It's literally you click what school they're in, what grade they're going to be in, you add it to the shopping cart, and you buy it," Sanclan said.

Within five minutes, she was done with school supply shopping.

"I've never done it any other way... I love it. It saves time and it's no more expensive," she said.

Scanlan is among 38 percent of families turning to the web for back-to-school shopping this year.

If you prefer the more traditional method for shopping, retail expert Mae Laatsch with Madison College suggests rethinking where you shop.

"Some of the best buys are not at your big box stores but your local supermarkets," Laatsch said.

This year's hot trends include bright colors and animal prints, Laatsch said.

When it comes to buying backpacks and clothes, you may want to wait a few weeks into the school year rather than buying them ahead of time.

"You buy it, you go to school, and the friends have something else... then you have to spend some more money because the child is not with the "in" thing," she said.

You also might want to consider setting up a neighborhood supply swap to exchange unused supplies from the previous year.

Also, when basic items, such as notebooks and pens, go on sale, consider buying more than your child initially needs, since their initial supplies may not last all year.


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