Here's how NOT to spend a fortune back to school shopping

School starts in about 2 weeks for the lil Howlers in Wolf Country. And for what it's worth, the National Retail Federation found that families with kids in elementary school or high school are expected to spend an average of $697 this year. While families with college students are expected to spend $977.Yikes! So here are four tips to help you get your kids ready for the school year . . .

1. Make a list and a budget. Schools usually send students a list of what they'll need for the upcoming school year. 

2. Take inventory of what you already have. To avoid buying things you don't need, check to see if you have pens, pencils, or notebooks left over from last year that you can still use.

3. Use coupons and shop sales. A lot of stores have coupons on their apps and websites, and in their weekly circulars.

4. Buy used or refurbished items. Electronics can be expensive. And some items, like graphing calculators, won't be needed for more than a couple years. So check sites like eBay, Amazon, Apple, and Dell for their refurbished deals. 

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