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Back to school on a budget: 5 simple strategies to snag discounts, stretch your dollar

Average family spends $700 sending kids to school

Simple ways to save money on school supplies

MADISON, Wis. - It's estimated parents will spend almost $700 sending their kids back to school, according to the National Retail Federation. That money is spent on everything from supplies and clothes to shoes and computers.

So if you're hoping to save some money-- and who isn't?-- here are some tips from U.S. News & World Report.

1. Spread out your purchases. Even if you're buying the same supplies, spreading out when you buy them over a few weeks can help you save money. Each week, shop the loss leaders at your store. Those are the items on the front page of a store's circular that have been deeply discounted, such as 1-cent folders.

2. Split bulk deals. If you have multiple school-age kids, divide oversized boxes of pencils and reams of paper between them. Even if you don't have multiple kids, go in with a few parents to split bulk school supplies. Apps such as Venmo and PayPal make sharing that financial burden easier.

3. Flash your ID to rack up discounts. Many retailers, including Apple, Dell, and Microsoft, offer discounts to college students if they show their ID card at checkout. Teachers are also eligible for exclusive discounts on school supplies year-round from stores such as Barnes and Noble.

4. Wait. Usually we don't recommend putting off items on your to-do list, but if you're looking to save money, it really is a good idea. Seasonal items such as winter clothes become cheaper after school starts, so if you hold off on your sweater shopping spree until Black Friday, you can end up with deals up to 80% off.

5. Go shopping at home. You might be surprised what you find lying around! Gather office and art supplies into different piles to make it easier to take inventory of what you already have. If you find an open box of markers, for example, try to make a full set with other markers that are no longer in a box.

You can find more money-saving deals here.

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