Go to School on School Expenses

Your kids’ backpacks are bulging, your after-school schedule is filled to the brim. But…your checkbook is nearly empty.

Yes, school begins with a bang–or sticker shock–every fall. In fact, retailers consider it the second biggest shopping event of the year, right behind Christmas. Spending for the 2011 school year will be almost $23 billion, billion with a “B.” A family with kids in K-12 will spend an average of nearly $604 on school supplies, clothing and electronics, according to the National Retail Federation’s 2011 back-to-school survey. And, 9 in 10 parents said the economy would impact their back-to-school shopping.

Congratulate yourself if you’ve be able to stay within budget this fall…and then watch out. Yes, watch out for those extras that nickel-and-dime you as activities and classes really kick in gear. The extra book, the fundraiser, the team t-shirt, even the posterboard for that science project.

Here are 5 money-saving strategies to help lessen the blow.

1. Make choices.
2. Reuse.
3. Frugal is in.
4. Borrow and exchange.
5. Barter.

What are your best tips for saving money this school season?

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