WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published July 30, 2010, 05:10 PM

School Supplies Can Take a Toll on Your Wallet.

The school year is right around the corner and school supplies are already on the shelves.

By: Meagan Millage, WDAZ

The fifth annual Huntington Backpack Index found the average cost to send your elementary school student back to the classroom is about $474.

The average cost of school-recommended supplies can be up to $1,000 for a high school student.

But, the study also found that retailers have tried to hold the prices steady since last year.

Many retailers offer back to school sales and discount their merchandise in August.

And Target in Grand Forks thinks they've stayed in line with that trend while offering more ways to help shoppers save money.

"We also get the lists from the teachers or the schools of the supplies that students need. Which is a nice feature because then they're not buying something that they don't need," Scott Stromme, Target Executive Team Leader, said.

The Huntington Backpack Index has ten tips for parents to save money while school supply shopping. Those tips are listed below-

1. Get your school supply list early - check now if you don't already have it.

2. Give "homework" to your children to collect sales promotions and circle the items they'll need.

3. Sit down with your family and find the best prices among sale items.

4. Compare in-store sales with online promotions.

5. Start and maintain a checklist of all items and the expected costs. Get your kids to practice their math by adding up the totals.

6. Do your children want a specific brand name? Ask them to use their allowances to make up the difference and then let them save up if they still insist. Remind them of the clothes or gadgets that money could buy instead.

7. Play the waiting game. If your kids only need a few items at the very start of school, just buy those items and then wait for clearance sales. This works for clothes, too.

8. Shop with cash in the amount you agreed to spend and have your kids deduct from their amount every time they place an item in the cart. If it's not on the list, it still comes out of the budgeted amount.

9. Visit used bookstores, online auction and classifieds sites, and online college retailers to find savings on college prep books for older children. And instead of renting instruments or athletic equipment, check with friends and family to see what you might borrow for free.

10. Set a budget and stick to it. Not only will your bank account benefit now, but you'll also learn valuable family lessons to establish wise saving and spending habits for the future.