By Debra Muccio

August and September are two of the most expensive months of the year thanks to back-to-school shopping. But there are still plenty of ways to stretch your dollar and get more bang for your buck:

1. Take inventory.

Check your kids’ closets and desks to see what clothes and supplies they already have. You might be surprised to find you have less to buy than you anticipated.

2. Shop end-of-season / clearance racks.

Take advantage of discounted end-of-season bargains. For example, inexpensive summer shirts can be paired with basic sweaters to get through cooler months; this works especially well if you have mild winters where you live. And while you’re at it, stock up on larger sizes for next year.

3. Take a sales tax holiday.

Take advantage of this huge break: In certain states, you can avoid paying sales tax for your back-to-school supplies during a select number of “tax holiday” days. This often applies to everything from clothes and shoes to school supplies and backpacks.

4. Cruise the discounters.

Chains like T.J.Maxx and Marshalls are already discounted up to 60 percent off department store prices, so no need to wait for a sale.

5. Shop on Sunday for school supplies.

At chains like Staples and Office Depot, you'll find amazing deals on school supplies through the end of August -- some for $1.25 cents, a penny or even free. Be sure to check the weekly circular for that week’s deals, and be prepared to run out the very first day (Sunday). These items sell out fast!

6. Surf for coupons.

Printable coupons for some school supplies and apparel (underwear/socks) can be found online. Before you go anywhere, browse coupon sites like or, along with specific retailer sites.

Just by making these small changes to your family’s back-to-school binge, you can save big bucks for the fun stuff you do together when the kids aren’t in class!

Debra Muccio blogs at, where she finds the best deals and freebies on everything from groceries to entertainment.

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Parenting - How to Stretch Your Back-to-school Shopping Dollars