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Tips for scoring back-to-school savings

Tuesday - 8/19/2014, 11:20am  ET

back to school shopping (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
Looking at merchandise schedules and sale ads can help parents save money when back-to-school shopping. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON -- Consignment shops, swap meets and re-sale websites can help cut back-to-school shopping costs as many students start a new school year.

The cost of back-to-school shopping can quickly add up. The National Retail Federation's annual survey reveals the average family with kids K-12 will spend this year nearly $670. The back-to-school cost for families with college students averages $916.

Money-saving tips from frugal parents include making the most of sale ads and merchandise schedules, too.

Read additional suggestions for back-to-school savings:

  • Stores such as Old Navy, Gap Kids and The Children's Place rotate merchandise frequently according to Parenting.com, which suggests parents ask when stores plan to do mark-downs.

  • Parenting.com says children will be less likely to lose items that otherwise would need to be replaced if backpacks and pencil cases are brightly colored.

  • There's more than one reason to check sale ads before shopping. The Gaston Gazette points out some stores such as Target and Walmart have price-matching policies. Read more about other price-matching policies and deals on WTOP.com.

  • Popular back-to-school items such as shoes commonly are offered as buy one get one free or half off -- which is incentive to take the entire family shopping.

  • Some Parent Teacher Associations sponsor swap meets for the exchange of gently used clothes or school uniforms. Parents also can organize their own back-to-school swaps.

  • Charities such as Goodwill, and The Salvation Army offer dramatically discounted items.

  • Numbers of websites help parents buy and sell gently used clothing. Thredup.com, for example, has lots of name brand girls' jumpers for less than $10. And on Craigslist.org a seller from Alexandria offers numbers of boy's jackets for $15.

Calvert County's schools begin on Tuesday, Aug. 19. Get the full list of school start dates on WTOP.com.

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