Tips to save hundreds on back-to-school shopping

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Back-to-school shopping looks a little different this year for many families - whether it is purchasing items for remote learning or juggling it on a tighter budget - and 7 On Your Side has tips to save money and stress.

A new survey by Compare Cards found two out of three parents are stressed about paying for back-to-school items and they expect to spend more than ever before: an average of $478 per family, which is up $50 from last year.

Whether you are stacking a virtual cart online or doing curbside pickup, take inventory of what's at home first. See what's in the backpack or shoved inside drawers that could be reused.

For everything else, you need to compare prices. Invisible Hand is a browser extension that automatically notifies you if the items you're shopping for are cheaper elsewhere.

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And look for coupon codes on sites like couponfollow.com

"This site has codes for thousands of online retailers," says consumer money saving expert Andrea Woroch. "I was just checking and they're offering 20% off at Office Depot and 10% off plus free shipping at Overstock.com."

Another idea is to set up a swap with other families in your area.

Facebook has groups to join and check out sites like Swoondle Society, an online marketplace to trade kids clothing, shoes and accessories.

For a fee starting at $5, you get a reusable shipping bag with a prepaid label. Fill it up with kids' outgrown clothes and get credit in your account to trade up for bigger sizes.

Electronics will take biggest bite out of a lean back-to-school budget this year.

A 15-inch laptop retails new for $1,050, but buy it certified refurbished and knock off $350.

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"You just have to spend a little extra time to find the deals," Woroch said.

Woroch says to check your credit card rewards points and see if you can double dip and redeem in a bonus spending category.

She's now working with Fetch Rewards, a free cash-back shopping app.

"You'll start getting points for taking pictures of your receipts, to Walmart, Target, Amazon," says Woroch.

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