NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- We've covered the back-to-school shopping season in detail (see here and here), and for good reason: We're going to spend more than $26 billion on it this year, according to the National Retail Federation, or $634 per average American family.
If that sounds like a lot, a few additional money saving tips just under the wire can help you keep your bank account solvent while your kid goes back to school happy (if that's even possible.)
It's all about reining in any splurge impulses and shopping smart. Do that and you'll get what you need for the kids and avoid excessive debt.
"Just as it's easy to let spending get out of control during the holidays, back-to-school shopping carries similar risks," says Kevin Gallegos, vice president of Phoenix operations for the Freedom Financial Network.get what you need without going over budget? Start here, with these often overlooked back-to-school shopping strategies: Check for an in-home inventory. Money may be tight in the family budget, so start by seeing what supplies you have around the house. Freedom Financial Network advises combing through desks, cabinets, drawers and closets to get the school supplies you need. Aim for easy-to-find items such as pencils, calculators, crayons, notebooks and binders that can be easily re-used. Set a cash limit, and include your children in the process. Establish a back-to-school shopping budget and split the proceeds between you and your kids. Gallegos advises putting equal amounts of cash in separate envelopes. "With adult supervision, kids can pay for some needed items from their envelope," he says. "When the cash is gone, their shopping is finished." this calculator from PracticalMoneySkills.com.) Then go ahead and set aside 1/12th of your school budget every month, taking the "guesswork" out of school shopping.