ALEXANDRIA, Va., (WUSA9) -- "I love anything that has to do with stationary, notebooks, anything," says Stephanie Sejas-Castro.
The daughter and her mother are a money saving due who knows how to stretch a dollar.
But, Kiplinger.com's Andrea Brown says the first lesson for parents is to scan for any leftover school supplies before they leave home.
She says, "Doing that will help you curtail some of that back to school budget spending."
List the items yo have, then decide what you really need to buy from the store.
"This will help you realize how much you expect to spend when you go shopping in the store. And, also having that budget cap in the back of your mind will help keep the excessive or impulse spending to a minimum," Browne says.
The annual tradition of shopping for her 8 and 18 year old school-aged kids has taught Charmaine Brown some valuable lessons.
I kinda comparison shop before I purchase anything," says the mom of two.
According to the National Retail Federation, families will spend on average more than $600 on back to school expenses this year. So, downloading apps like Red Laser to your smart phone will help you rack up even more savings.
"It allows you to scan the bar codes on various items, so you can comparison shop to see if the better price is online or in the store," Andrea Browne says.
Broaden your search to save and don't limit yourself to just big-box stores, like Target or Walmart.
Browne says, "Schools supplies are typically cheaper at office supplies stores. For example, you can get notebooks and folders anywhere from 15 to 30 cents during their back to school promotions, and that's a really, really good deal."
A new outfit to wear on the first day of school is always a thrill. But, you don't have to break the bank to buy a winning wardrobe. Kiplinger.com's Browne says shop the child's closet first and then purchase what they only need.
"There are a lot of end of summer sales going on right now. So, you can score big deals on basic things like jeans, T-shirts, socks and shoes."
So, the lesson here, do your homework ahead of time, and you'll save on back to school all the time.
The savings don't stop there, says WUSA 9 anchor and consumer correspondent Lesli Foster. Consider swapping items that your kids don't need with other families to stretch your dollars.
You still have time to follow your favorite retailers on Facebook and Twitter for exclusive deals.
And, take advantage of student discounts at stores like Apple, Dell and Microsoft. They lower prices on laptops and may throwh in a gift card toward the purchase of other related items.