Frugal Friday: Back-to-school shopping

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Even with a state tax holiday through Saturday the cost of school supplies and clothes will add up in a hurry. But there are a few things you can do to keep the damage to a minimum.

The average parent with K-12 kids is on track to spend more than $688 on back-to-school clothes and supplies this year. Consumer Reports and Shop Smart Magazine recommend a little planning before hitting the mall to get more bang for the buck.

"Probably you've got notepaper, maybe a couple of notebooks, certainly you've got pens and pencils and things like that, so you want to take an inventory of what you already have and then build your list around that," says Sue Perry with Consumer Reports.

Buy basic supplies in bulk to use year-round. Retailers will deeply discount certain loss-leaders during the back-to-school season...things like notebooks, folders, and pens. Z

Use the web to hunt for sales instead of going store-to-store. Spoofee puts deals from weekly circulars in one place. Pricegrabber and Nextag allow you to compare prices and set up price alerts.

For the biggest share of back-to-school spending -- clothing -- start small.

"You don't have to start your child off with a full wardrobe. Kids love clothes, they like to have clothes going back to school, but you don't have to go and buy everything all at once," Perry says.

After all, before you know it, summer will give way to fall, meaning clothes for colder temperatures and Columbus Day sales.