Back to school shopping season is underway, and the average household is expected to spend $79 on supplies this year.
7 On Your Side has seven tips on how to stretch your dollar and save.
"It's a hard year for families, between the pandemic and inflation," consumer expert Andrea Woroch said.
And that means it's never been more important to save money.
"Number one, look around your home," Woroch said. "What supplies can you reuse for this year? You don't have to buy everything brand new."
Look for barely used notebooks and binders, and shop for like-new items instead.
"You can go to a site like eBay to find used backpacks," she said. "When it comes for electronics, look for certified refurbished models from reputable retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and Apple...You're saving anywhere from 30%-60% off on things like tablets, smartphones, laptops and printers."
And if you want to save more than 6% on your back-to-school shopping bill, shop in states that offer tax free holidays on certain school supplies.
New Jersey's back to school sales tax holiday runs for 10 days, from August 27 to September 5, while Connecticut's is August 21-27. New Yorkers should shop out of state these dates.
Also, before you buy new, look to swapping sites like Swoondle Society that can also save you a lot of money.
"You get a bag," Woroch said. "You can fill it up with your kids' outgrown items and get credit you can then trade in for like-new clothing, shoes and accessories."
When you are shopping for things you can't find used, don't settle for the marked price.
"At CouponCabin.com, you can find deals by retailer or category," Woroch said. "You also will earn cash back, so it's kind of a double bonus."
Also, start looking for gift cards. A recent survey by Bankrate shows the average person is sitting on $116 in unused gift cards. If you don't want them, swap them or sell them for cash.
And don't forget to utilize browser extensions. CouponCabin's Sidekick, Honey, Rakuten or Camel Camel Camel automatically apply the best coupon codes before you complete an online order and offer cash back. And make sure you're shopping with either a cashback rewards card or utilizing a method that pays you back.
The free Slide app offers instant 4% cash pack on purchases that you pay for with Slide, and you can pay with Slide at more than 150 partner brands.
"If you do it right, you might have enough points to help pay for a lot of your back-to-school supplies," Woroch said. "So it's essentially like getting things for free."
Fetch rewards let you earn points for simply uploading photos of your receipts.
"If you're not using a cash back, you are just leaving money on the table," Woroch said.
And with inflation, no one can afford that.
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