It may seem impossible, but you can fill your child's backpack without going broke!
Step 1: Stick to your school's list of required supplies. Contact the school if you haven't received one.
Step 2: Ask your child's school if they know of any community programs that are distributing free school supplies. Or check for them online.
Step 3: Start at the dollar store, where you can almost always find pens, pencils, notebooks, and other items.
Step 4: Scour weekly store sale advertisements so you can snap up items you need that fall into their "loss-leader" category – items they sell at a loss each week to lure you into the store.
Step 5: Check the web sites of big discount stores before you head out the door; they often have downloadable coupons and deals you can only get online.
TIP: Join forces with other parents so you can buy school supplies in bulk and split them.
Step 6: Talk to your school principal about the school joining the National Association for the Exchange of Industrial Resources or a similar organization, which collects overstock donations from businesses and redistributes them to nonprofit organizations, like schools.
FACT: The average American family with school-age children spends $594.24 on back-to-school purchases.