With retailers competing for your back-to-school bucks, you don't want to fail in back-to-school budgeting.
When it comes to back to school shopping in this economy, you don’t want to fail in Savings 101.
A new survey by the the National Retail Federation shows parents plan to spend less money this year than last year. That means that stretching every dollar counts. The average budget is about $600.
"If it’s not on sale, people probably won’t buy it," said Chicago KMart manager Olu Balogun.
In fact, savings experts say now is the time to stock up on the necessities: pens, pencils and notebooks, as retailers are slashing prices competing for your back to school dollar.
Nicole Black of MyChicagoMommy.com says for backpacks and clothes, wait until Labor Day sales or later for even better deals.
"Backpacks 25 percent off now may be 40 percent off after school starts," she said.
"It gets overwhelming," said Black. MyChicagoMommy.com will even scour the sales ads for you.
For one of the biggest budget busters -- textbooks -- the savings trend now is digital. Textbooks you can read on your own computer could lead to savings. You can also rent books for half the price of a used copy. Use comparison sites like CampusBooks.com and Bigwords.com. Based on prices at the University of Illinois book store, we found rentals amounted up to 75 percent off.
Your savings often match the work you put into it.
"It can be saving a few dollars if you're in a hurry or it can be literally cutting your bill in half or three-fourths," said Black.
Here are more of her strategies for back to school shopping success: