You can hear the groans across the country. We are in the middle of summer and already retailers are holding back-to-school sales.
The National Retail Federation says some sales may continue through August, but there might not be the same selection. That's reason enough to consider shopping now.
Here are 10 ways to save while staying on budget with early shopping:
1. Take Inventory
Consider what you'll actually need before hitting the stores. Has your child grown out of last year’s school clothes or will they by September? Can you reuse last year's school supplies or will you need to replace some items?
Many schools provide lists of items required by teachers. Check your school’s website before you shop so you don’t buy items you don’t need.
2. Set a Budget
Create a shopping list and stick to it, so you avoid impulse purchases. That fancy-schmancy Transformers' Trapper Keeper can push your budget over the edge.
3. Use Coupons
There may be great deals, but coupons can make them even better. Check the store’s website before you go. Many have coupons for you to print. Check out sites like CouponSherpa.com for their selection of online, printable, and mobile coupons for back to school savings.
4. Shop Early
While it seems awfully early to think about school shopping, this is when stores are rolling out their best deals of the year. As they say, the early bird gets the worm.
5. Go Mobile
Tap into your mobile phone with apps like RedLaser , which allows you to scan bar codes and find any cheaper prices online or at other retailers.
6. Check Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are great places to find deals offered to a brand's social-media fan base. "Like" or "Follow" the merchant and keep an eye out for coupons and sales announcements.
7. Buy in Bulk
Take advantage of bulk offers on pens, crayons, paper and other items your kids will burn through over the course of the year. You might team up with other parents for bigger bulk purchases that will bring prices down even lower.
8. Spend More to Save More
Sometimes it costs money to save money. For example, Staples offers a 15-percent savings pass for $10, which you can use throughout the back-to-school season. This works best with large ticket items. Remember to keep an eye on the expiration date.
Gather your family and friends -- along with their kid's school wardrobes -- for an exchange night of hand-me-downs that will save everyone money.
10. Wait Until Labor Day
Labor Day is the traditional time for big sales on school clothing. You might take a chance and wait until then to buy any necessary items for your child.
*Information contained in this article was supplied by consumer and money saving expert, Andrea Woroch.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Parents and students have an opportunity to put a dent in the bottom line of their back-to-school shopping list by taking advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday which runs until midnight August 14.