August is here and that means it’s the start of a brand new school year. Between school supplies, books and clothing your wallet could become your best friend or your worst nightmare. With sales signs constantly taunting us and our children begging us for the must-have school items of the season, the temptation to spend is unbelievably great.

Creating a game plan before going back-to-school shopping could save you time, money and your sanity. Regardless if your kids are in grade school or headed off to college, you can save a ton of money using these tips and tricks.


Get organized

Take time to rummage through your children’s closets and past school supplies to assess what can be salvaged for the upcoming school year. Once you have gotten organized, you will have a clearer idea of what you actually need to buy. Getting organized will prevent you from over spending on items that you already have at home.


Make a list with a budget

After you have rounded up all of the school supplies that your children already own, make a list of what you have and what you need. Making a list will help you establish an affordable budget that won’t break your bank. Creating a budget is the easy part. Sticking to it once you are out shopping with your children is the hard part. Be sure to strictly follow the list and the budget to guarantee that you are not over spending on unnecessary items.


Include the kids

Kids have a preconceived notion that with a new school year, they need new school supplies. They don’t realize that their previous school supplies could be recycled and reused. By including your children, you are helping them learn the importance of respecting their personal items so that they can use them as long as possible. Back-to-school shopping is a great way to teach your children valuable life lessons about budgeting, money management and understanding the difference between wants and needs.


Shop the web

Before you head out to shop for back-to-school supplies in your local stores, search for money saving deals online first. Many websites have coupon codes, discounts, free shipping and more special deals to help you save during the back-to-school shopping season. While there are a ton of deals offered in stores, they can easily distract you from your list and your budget. So it is a good idea to shop online before heading out into the madness of shopping at a brick-and-mortar location.


Plan for the next back-to-school season

Use your smart shopping habits every back-to-school season. Create a habit of tracking your previous back-to-school expenses to help you figure out your future budget for the upcoming season, keeping in mind what you actually did or didn’t need. Planning for the future will keep your sanity in check once next years back-to-school chaos begins.