Back-to-School Savings - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Back-to-School Savings

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KENNEWICK, Wash-- Let's face it--the economy has hit tough times.  Between the high rising cost of gas and groceries, there might not be enough money left in the bank for the annual back-to-school shopping spree.

"Everything gets more expensive, it's more of a challenge," says Jeanie, a bargain shopper and mother of two.

It is enough of a challenge that even business journals are finding ways to cut costs.  Forbes Business magazine has created a shopping tip-list for parents.

But it seems each year the supply list gets longer and longer.

Experts say the easiest way to save a dollar is to look for a bargain.  You will able to find pens for $.50 and notebooks for a nickel.  But those are just in basic colors.  It is when your child wants a more specific brand or color, like a Hannah Montana notepad, that prices begin to rise.

"Mom goes for bargain, the kids go for the colors," laughs Jeanie.  Her two daughters are aware of high prices, but admit they're drawn to just about anything pink.  And that's one trap parents must avoid: go into the store knowing exactly what to buy, that way you don't spend time browsing.  Doing so will prevent you from over-spending you pre-planned budget.

Stores like Wal-Mart have noticed a bargain mentality among shoppers.

"[Parents are] being money conscious, looking for bargains, getting things that they really need and not what they don't," says one Wal-Mart co-manager.

Another tip for shoppers: don't be afraid to re-use last year's supplies.  Remember, it might go out of style but not neccessarily worth re-buying.

KNDU spoke with one school district that advises parents to try and complete the list.  But if you can't find all the supplies, or you can't afford it, don't stress.  The school will likely have back-ups.