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Back to school savings: how to

No groaning! It is still the middle of summer but back to school shopping is on the horizon. How to save without busting your budget? Here are some tips:

Take inventory Consider what you'll actually need before hitting the stores. Can you reuse last year's school supplies or will you need to replace some items?

Set a budget Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases that can push your budget over the edge.

Embrace coupons There may be great deals, but coupons can make them even greater. Check out sites like that offer a wide selection of coupons for back to school savings.

Shop early While it seems early to think about school shopping, this is when stores are rolling out their best deals of the year. The early bird gets the worm.

Go mobile Tap into your mobile phone with apps that allow you to scan bar codes and find any cheaper prices online or at other retailers.

Check social media Twitter and Facebook are great places to find deals offered to a brand's social-media fan base. "Like" or "Follow" the merchant and keep an eye out for coupons and sales announcements.

Buy bulk Take advantage of bulk offers on pens, crayons, paper and other items your kids will burn through over the course of the year. You might team up with other parents for bigger bulk purchases that will bring prices down even more.

Spend more - save more Sometimes it costs money to save money. For example, Staples offers a 15% savings pass for $10, which you can use throughout the back-to-school season.

Swap Gather your family and friends - along with their kid's school wardrobes - for an exchange night of hand-me-downs that will save everyone money.

Wait until Labor Day Labor Day is the traditional time for big sales on school clothing. You might take a chance and wait until then.

Don't forget you! Stock up on office supplies, jeans and other items that traditionally go on sale during this season.


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