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Comparison shop online. A great way to save time and money is to create a school supply shopping list in advance and check out online deals from the comfort of your home. Start with big-box retailers and discount chains. Office supply stores may also offer good deals. Compare your most expensive items first, such as electronics, and consider making your purchase online instead of in store. If the site offers free shipping, you’re also saving on gas.

Use online coupons. Groupon and other popular coupon sites are resources frugal families can use to save money on just about anything. Some sites offer savings tips – and even cash back. If you haven’t explored the cyberworld of online coupons, now is a great time to give it a try.

Buy used. Second-hand textbooks and other supplies tend to sell at deep discounts. And as long as they’re in good shape, used items are a terrific money-saving option. You can find used items on Amazon, but also check out thrift stores or even local garage sales for deals.

Public and school libraries. Many assigned novels are available to check out from local and school libraries. If your student doesn’t plan on writing in the book or keeping a personal copy, the library is a definite win. Some larger library systems offer online book reservations with free delivery — just be mindful of the due dates to avoid fees.

Seek back-to-school deals. Most retailers stock up and advertise bargains during back-to-school season. Check their online ads and mailers to keep track of the best local prices for all the items on your list.

Tax holidays. Several states offer a back-to-school tax-free weekend in August, so keep your eyes peeled for those dates if you live in Florida, Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Mexico, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee or Virginia. This list can change from year to year.

Look for student discounts. If you need to purchase your child’s own computer-related software or hardware, companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, HP and Best Buy often provide student discounts. While many of these are reserved for college students, it’s always worth asking about grades K-12.

With these strategies, you can keep costs to a minimum this back-to-school season. Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”