It feels like just yesterday we were planning our Memorial Day weekend BBQs, summer vacations, and trips to the beach or pool. But looking at the calendar – and all the commercials on TV peddling notebooks and backpacks – tells us it is already time for back to school! Don’t let the end of summer blues get in the way of saving you some green when you go back to school shopping; just take a look at some of these helpful tips!

Shop at Home First

Before you even set up a plan or go to a store for supplies, go through your house or apartment to see what supplies you already have and can use for the school year, potentially saving you big bucks. You can even get your kids involved and make a fun “scavenger hunt” game out of it, and it can also help with cleaning and de-cluttering.

Stick to the List

Most schools provide a detailed and itemized supply list for each school year. Make sure each of your kids has their list, and do not deviate from this list. A big part of back to school expenses lies within making unnecessary impulse purchases or buying too large a quantity of a particular item.

Shop Around

It might seem easy to just go to one store and get everything, but between big box stores, dollar stores, online retailers, and re-sale sites, you could save a lot of money by researching where the best deals are for your back to school items. Sometimes, even social media marketplaces could have some of your neighbors looking to get rid of supply items they no longer need. And shopping around could help you know – and take advantage of – price matching offers.

Clip those Coupons!

Last but not least, many retailers flood the weekend circulars with special offers on school supplies to get you into their stores. Keep an eye out for special discounts and coupons, and go to that store to take advantage of those offers! Don’t forget, however, that other items in the store may be marked-up to make up for the discount you are getting, so don’t feel too tempted to overspend!