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Back to school shopping tips

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Back to school shopping is fun for kids, but maybe not so much for parents when it comes to the cost of everything.

According to the National Retail Federation's 2013 Back-to-School Survey, families with school-age children will spend an average of $634.78 on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, which is down from $688.62 last year. Total spending on back-to-school is expected to reach $26.7 billion.

"It's down because people are going to recycle, number one, and they spent an awful lot last year and they're hoping they can reuse," Mae Laatsch, a business and marketing instructor at Madison College, said.

Laatsch says the biggest portion of the budget will go towards new apparel and accessories.

According to Laatsch, the first thing you need to do it get your child's school supply list. Many schools provided this at the end of the last school year, and most post these online. Some stores also carry the lists.

The second thing Laatsch suggest is to go through your supplies from last year.

"Set aside an area specifically where school supplies are kept, do an inventory, what do you have," Laatsch said.

Another way to save before you go buy new supplies is to do a neighborhood swap. Laatsch says it's a good idea to see if neighbors who have kids have supplies or clothes they don't need anymore, but you do.

"The thing you need to teach the children today, that recycling is in, therefore, old is in, so to speak," Laatsch said.

The peak week for back to school shopping is July 29 through August 5.

"If you wait too long, the things that you want, the need may not be there," Laatsch said. "There may be larger savings later on, but I don't know how much more."

Laatsch also suggested checking out garage sales and to look for coupons.

According to Laatsch, the back to school shopping season has potential to set the tone for the holidays.

Laatsch joined us on 27 News at 5 on Monday.

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