The summer isn't over yet, and already big retailers are moving out the pool supplies and lawn chairs and moving in the notebooks and pencils. The New Hartford Target has looseleaf where the pool floaties used to be. While parents are always on the lookout for back-to-school money saving deals, the cost of school supplies and other school activity fees can take a bite out of your budget.

Huntington Bank has been tracking the average cost of school supplies for 11 years. They've released their annual Huntington Bank Backpack Index and the numbers are staggering.

For the 2017-2018 school year, according to the Backpack Index, parents can expect to pay, per child:

  • $662 for elementary school children,
  • $1,001 for middle school children, and
  • $1,489 for high school students.

Wow. That is a lot of money. The study also points out that these high costs are nearly impossible for low-income families to fit into their household expenses. Some of the scientific calculators cost over $100, that alone is enough to blow a budget.

Moneycrashers.com offers some great advice for parents looking to cut those costs down a little bit. They offer the following tips:

  • Check what you have leftover from previous years. Maybe there are supplies that still have some years left in them like binders or book covers.
  • Shop at the right time. Many large retailers have big sales during the back-to-school season. Keep your eye out for those sale flyers.
  • Buy in bulk. Multiple kids? Compile their supply lists and buy in bulk. Maybe you can even get together with other parents with similar lists.
  • Clip coupons. Snip away and you can save quite a bit. Be sure to sign up for retailers social media sites, too. They often post special offers there, too.

September is right around the corner. The majority of Central New York schools begin classes on September 7th, including Utica, Rome, New Hartford and Whitesboro, so get ready for back-to-school and start stocking up!

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