Parents use shopping know-how for back-to-school deals

INDIANAPOLIS - Back to school shopping is in high gear, with store shelves beginning to fill up with book bags, binders and ball-point pens.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with school-age children will spend about $635 on shoes, clothes, supplies and electronics this year.

That’s roughly $50 less than last year. Total back-to-school spending is expected to top $26 billion in 2013.

Roughly half the people will buy all their school supplies before school starts. The other half will be afterward. Consumers will probably find the best deals out there right now.

And those are the best deals for savvy school shoppers like Donya Clark. This mom of three said she's cutting her back-to-school spending in half.

"My guess will be $30 or $40 per kid maybe," Clark said.

She's recycling many school supplies from last year. It's the same thing Carrie Black is doing.

"I think I know how to make money and save money," Black said.

She racks up school supplies for her three kids through consignment.

"I go and I take my kids’ clothes from the previous school year and recycle those and sell those there, and when I can, (I) also get bargains while I’m there and shop there."

Each year she goes to Just Between Friends (JBF) Consignment to find a treasure trove of deals with all of the used goods priced to move.

"I made $400 the first time,” Black said. “I was like, ‘Whoa, OK, I can do this.’"

She turns her kids’ used school clothes into cash, then uses the cash to stock up on new items at the consignment sale.

It’s just one way back-to-school shoppers are filling their carts without emptying their wallets.

One item likely on your shopping list is a new backpack. It's important to buy one that fits correctly. For more information on how to make sure your child's backpack isn't becoming a health problem, click here.

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