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Last-minute shoppers can still save for back to school

Expert shares shopping tips

Last minute shoppers can still save for back to school

Many Wisconsin schools start the 2014-2015 school year on Tuesday, and many families are still stocking up on school supplies.

Kaya Mondry will be a freshman at West High School and started shopping at Target for school supplies a week before the first day of class.

"Now's the time there's a lot of deals right now, so whenever there's cost savings we take advantage of them," Mondry's mother, Annette, said.

Like many families, they are looking to save money. The new freshman planned on combining gift cards with sale prices for her supplies.

This summer the National Retail Federation estimated families with a student grades K-12 will spend $669 to prepare for the new school year. The amount went up 5 percent from last year.

College students and parents are expected to spend $916, up 10 percent from last year. The NRF attributed the increases in spending to improvements in the economy which boosted consumer confidence and more spending on electronics.

"There are still deals out there to be had, and actually pretty soon you're going to see all the extra overstock they have on back-to-school clearance," said Dannelle Gay senior editor for Wisconsin Parent and owner of Operation$40K. Gay lives and writes about money-saving techniques for families.

Gay shared a few suggestions to saving money on back-to-school shopping. She said families should shop from home first so they don't buy extras, put their list together and don't be afraid to price match.

"It's always a no unless you ask ," said Gay. However, price match policies vary from store to store.

Smartphones can also help save money. Free apps like Favado compare prices at stores near you. Shopsavvy lets users scan the barcode of an item and will share where the same item might be on sale for less money.

Gay also suggested a reusable lunch bag and food containers help as well.

However, consumers might want to spend more money on shoes and backpacks.

"You get what you pay for and so the bargain bags aren't much of a bargain when after a couple months you know the zipper breaks," said Gay.

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