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      Money Talks News: Back to School Saving

      Pencils... backpacks... paper... and clothes. Buying all you need for back to school can cost a pretty penny.

      The National Retail Federation reports the average family with school-aged kids will spend around $635 this year on back to school.

      Back to school shopping can cost a ton. But if you know what you're doing, there are ways to trim those costs. Ready for a refresher course on how to save?

      First, start at home, not the store. Make an inventory of what you already have, then a list of what you need. Next, get the school's list of supplies and dress code, and stick to it. Then check garage sales and thrift shops for clothes and supplies, and see if your community offers freebies.

      Before you start filling that shopping cart, do some comparison shopping online. You can even actually do some comparison shopping with your smart phone while you're in the store. And see if your store has an app or go to its website. You might get some web specials. And of course, if your state has a sales tax holiday for back to school, that's when you want to do your shopping.

      Buying in bulk is cheaper, especially when you split the cost with friends or neighbors. Finally: You know this stuff is going to be clearance priced when school starts. So buy the bare minimum now and wait.

      Bottom line... Doing your homework and being organized: that's the composition of back to school savings.

      Want more ideas, specific tips and links? I've got them waiting for you right here at

      Just do a search for "Back to School."

      For Money Talks News, I'm Stacy Johnson.