(WSVN) - As the start of the new school year approaches, parents across the nation are gearing up for the annual back-to-school shopping spree, but his year, families are facing higher expenses compared to previous years.

According to a recent survey by RetailMeNot, the average American household is projected to spend $1,498 on back-to-school supplies, electronics and clothes, an increase of $251 from last year’s spending average.

The surge in back-to-school expenses can be partly attributed to inflation, which has impacted the prices of various goods and services.

Jessica Allen, community director at Living Well Spending Less, compared the shopping experience to Christmas and emphasized the need for careful budgeting and planning to avoid overspending.

“It adds up so fast,” she said. “It’s kind of like Christmas. We’re buying 100 different things from 100 different vendors and it’s so easy to lose track.”

To help parents navigate the back-to-school shopping season while saving some cash, Allen offered five expert tips:

  1. Take Inventory: Begin by assessing what school supplies and clothing items are already available at home. Create a wish list of essential items that need to be purchased and prioritize based on immediate needs.
  2. Set a Budget: Involve your children in the shopping process by giving them a set amount of money to manage. This not only teaches them the importance of budgeting but also allows them to interact with service staff during the shopping experience.
  3. Buy in Bulk and Share: Consider purchasing certain items in bulk and split the costs with other parents, neighbors, or friends. This cooperative approach can lead to significant savings and reduce individual expenses.
  4. Extend Electronics Lifespan: Instead of splurging on new electronics, explore options for swapping or passing down devices. Graduated seniors may have graphing calculators or other gadgets that are no longer needed, presenting an opportunity to save money.
  5. Wait for the Right Time: Avoid the shopping rush by waiting until your children start their classes and receive specific requirements from their teachers. This way, you can make more informed and targeted purchases.

Miami-Dade students are set to return to school on Thursday, Aug. 17, while Broward students will begin their new academic year on Monday, Aug. 21.

As families gear up for the school year, these money-saving tips can serve as a helpful guide to ensure a smooth transition back to the classroom without breaking the bank.

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