PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- From pencils to clothing to electronics, your back to school shopping list is probably long and expensive. We are breaking down your top five bargain-busting shopping hacks and more.
I've got good news and bad news. The bad news is according to the National Retail Federation, families are expected to spend $685 dollars on back to school supplies - that's 25-percent more than 10 years ago! The good news, there are easy ways to save.
Parents aren't the only ones trying to minimize their back to school spending. Teachers like Courtney Brown are, too.
'We need to, basically, buy a lot of things for our classroom. They do allot us $100, but obviously teachers spend way more than that," she said.
So hack #1: See what you already have lying around the house from last year. And #2: Get into a group.
Mary Beth Quirk from Consumer Reports suggests, "You can organize a swap. Someobody else might have a whole bunch of items you need. You can trade and that way no one even has to spend any money."
Hack #3: Compare prices.
To find out who has the lowest, Action News shopped the school supply list for two local schools: Louis H. Farrell in Philadlephia and Titus Elementary in Warrington, Bucks County.
We looked for the cheapest brands to fill our online cart at Amazon, CVS, Staples, Walmart and Target.
Walmart scored first place for the lowest price overall, saving us $10 dollars on our Titus list compared to Target, which came in second for best price.
Amazon and CVS cost us the most to fill our school backpacks. We spent double filling our carts on Amazon.
"If you want to use Amazon, you should definitely check out Camel Camel Camel, which is a site that tracks prices for different products on Amazon. You can sign up for price alerts and you'll get an email letting you know when that item is at its chepest or about ot go on sale," said Quirk.
Hack #4: Use other price check apps like ShopSaavy.
"And that way you can scan it and say this is cheaper someplace else.. You can ask the retailer for a price match," suggests Quirk.
And finally Hack #5: Don't buy everything now, especially when it comes to clothing and electronics.
"Retailers are going to slash prices a lot in September once school's already started," said Quirk.
Plus, Black Friday sales start as soon as October. Also - be aware - Walmart was the cheapest when we shopped in store as well, but our testers found the bins disorganized and many items hard to find.
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