If you're feeling a financial pinch this month, blame the school supplies.  It's fun to get new binders, erasable pens, and gadgets, but it sets most of us back more than $600 this month.  

USA Today said the average family will spend $696.70 on school supplies this month.  That's per child!  If you have more than one child, don't do the math.  Just don't.  Let them do the math with all of those fancy school supplies this fall.

It's not just the pens, notebooks, and binders that are adding up.  It's clothing, shoes, and laptops too.  And Kleenex and hand sanitizer.  Most schools are putting those things on the list of necessities for the new school year since germs like kids and teachers want to survive the onslaught.

There are ways to save money on school supplies.  I posted this info last month, and now that the new school year is getting closer, it's worth posting again.

5 Secrets That Will Save You Money on Back-to-School Shopping

1.  Use manufacturer coupons.  The Krazy Coupon Lady points out that a $1 manufacturer coupon for Bic pens can lead to a freebie if we get the pens from the dollar store.  Other manufacturer coupons that I've seen combine several items and offer $5 off of the whole group.  It pays to do some digging and collect as many coupons as possible before heading out on the shopping trip.  The Sunday paper and Parenting magazine are good sources for coupons, in addition to the web.

2.  Buy markers and glue at a craft store.  Michaels has new coupons each week, and those are easy to scan from your phone at the register.  Coupons for 25% off your entire purchase and 40% off one regular-priced item are pretty standard at craft stores, so snatch up whatever school supplies you can with the discounts.  You know they'll have scissors too.

3.  Price match.  Stores including Target will match any advertised price, so take your phone to the store with you.  Pull up Walmart or Amazon while you're shopping, and if the price there is lower on the same item, let Target know and they'll match it.  Then use a manufacturer's coupon and save even more.

4.  Know which days of the week to shop for clothes.  The Krazy Coupon Lady spills the secret that Old Navy marks price cuts on Thursday, and clearance markdowns happen on Monday night.  Shopping the next morning will give you a good selection.  Target puts new markdowns on the kids' clothes clearance rack on Mondays.

5.  Use store apps.  I've got a friend who loves to shop at Kohls but doesn't have the app, and her final bill is always at least twenty bucks higher than mine as an app user and frequent spender of Kohls Cash.  Kohls sends reward money too at the beginning of every month, so anything you spend in July will count toward the August reward, which could be $5, $15, $25, or more.  The Target app is full of savings too, with new Cartwheel offers added all the time.  This week on my Target app, I'm seeing coupons for crayons, Post-Its, dry erase markers, pencils, pens, sharpies, and scissors.  Do not shop at Target without the app.

Classes in the Boise ISD start August 19th.  Don't forget the Kleenex.

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