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Ways to save on back-to-school shopping this year

Although many families are cash-strapped, they could have to pay even more this year. Here are some tips to stretch your hard-earned dollar.

TEXAS, USA — Americans are pinching pennies more than usual this year, and back-to-school costs can quickly add up. 

Although many families are cash-strapped, they could have to pay even more this year as their children are headed back to class.

The National Retail Federation said families with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend nearly $790, up more than $90 from 2019. College families are going to have to pay more as well: $1,059.20 up from $976.78. 

But there are ways to save. Here are some tips to stretch that hard-earned dollar. 

Tip #1: Try shopping off the beaten path

Big box stores like Target and Walmart will lure you in with lucrative savings, but you may find savings in stores where you typically pay more. Check out Office Depot, Walgreens and CVS for school supplies that are sometimes as low as 25 cents. 

Tip #2: What's old is new again

You can save hundreds of dollars on gadgets by shopping refurbished. Ebay has great options on computers, many with warranties, returns and money-back guarantees. 

But you can also find refurbished tablets, phones and computers on Best Buy, Amazon, and Apple's websites. 

Tip #3: Don't forget to look around the house

Your older child may not need that fancy calculator you bought anymore. Take an inventory of what you already have around the house, things you may have stuck in that closet or drawer and forgot about. 

Tip #4: Download the app!

Many stores offer extra percentages off certain items like school supplies, simply by downloading the app. Target is a big one for this. Target Circle gives you more money off some needed items. 

Tip #5: Do your homework

This requires a little more legwork, but a solid option to save big is to do your research. Comparing prices can help you save big bucks. There are even websites like Price Grabber and Camel that do the work for you!

Don't forget to ask if teachers or students get extra discounts. For instance, HEB is giving teachers an extra 15 percent off select items through the end of August.