(WFSB) - Parents will soon be spending hundreds of dollars on school supplies for their child, but there are ways to avoid spending a small fortune.
The National Retail Federation says the average family will spend more than $800 on back-to-school supplies.
That’s way up from last year, but there are ways to save.
“First, try reusing and recycling. Pull out all of the leftover supplies from last year, take inventory, and see what you can salvage. Their backpack and lunchbox may just need a good wash, and there are probably binders, pens, and pencils that can be put back into rotation. You can even pull out unused pages from a spiral notebook to use as loose leaf paper for this year," Brandi Broxson, features editor at Real Simple, said.
Broxson says if you’re going to buy new gear, invest in things that will last.
“Sometimes, you really do get what you pay for, especially when it comes to bigger items, like backpacks, so check to make sure that zippers and latches are sturdy, and that it’s something that can grow with your child for a few years. Now, to that point, kids are often very interested in getting a new backpack that has the character or cartoon that they love. Instead, get a simple backpack and then you can add inexpensive stickers or patches or keychains, whatever kind they’re into that year and switch it out the next year," continued Broxson.
And scour the sales flyers for places to save.
“And keep in mind that some stores will even price match from another store’s flyer, so bring the flyer with you if you’re going to shop in person, and try to do your shopping at a max of two spots to minimize the hassle of running all over town, because no one wants to do that. Another great savings tip is to skip the disposables. At first, plastic baggies seem like they’re really cheap, and they are to start, but you have to keep replenishing them, so instead, invest in those reusable lunch containers for sandwiches and snacks. It’ll help to save the planet and also your pocketbook," added Broxson.
And Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or even Craigslist are great options to find gently used items, like sports equipment or musical instruments.
Real Simple is owned by the parent company of this news station, the Meredith Corporation.