CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - With summer in full swing, it's hard to believe kids will be back to school in just a few weeks! And that means it's time for the dreaded school supply lists.
We went shopping for ways to fill their backpacks without emptying your wallet.
Crayons, pencils, even tablets...the lists can be long and the cost can add up quickly. Retailers have already started their back to school sales and deals.
We found if you shop smart, you can save a lot.
Back to School shopping has already begun for 10-year-old Wyatt and his grandma. Wyatt's going into the fifth grade.
"I'm excited because this is the last year of elementary," he said.
His grandmother, Kay Grant, is pretty excited about checking everything off his school supply list.
"We came early before everything got picked over," she said.
She's not alone. according to a recent Rubicon Project (RUBI) survey of 1500 parents of both school-ages and college-bound students, more than a third of consumers have already started buying back to school items. It's big competition for retailers, who want your money. Sales for the season could top 800 Billion Dollars. While some consumers will shop online at Amazon, others prefer the experience of going to stores with their kids. Either way, there are ways to save.
"It's a no-brainer, you can easily save," said Kyle James, dad of three and founder of Rather-Be-Shopping.com.
James told FOX19 NOW, first things first, check what you've already got on hand. You may have glue or the right color folder left over from last school year.
Next James also said if you have the time never shop from a single store. Every store has different deals.
For example, we found Walmart already has 300 "classroom items" for under a buck...Staples has other advertised deals and is offering a 110 percent price match guarantee.
If you're a Target fan, James stressed DO NOT shop there without coupons. This season, the big-box retailer is offering lots of printable store coupons.
You can then bundle those with manufacturer coupons to save even more.
Tommy Campanella, Dad of two and Target team leader, says Back to School shelves are re-stocked multiple times a day.
But if you can't stand the crowds, he has another tip for tired shoppers.
"They can order online, pick up in store, come to guest services and we will actually go shopping for them," he said.
Kay said she expects to spend about 70 dollars this year on Wyatt's list.
''Probably the most expensive single item were his earbuds and I got a pair for 10 dollars, so that's not so bad," she said as she shopped for items at a Florence Target store.
But if you have high school or college-aged kids who need a new laptop or tablet, there are tech deals to be had.
James says Best Buy has a webpage that lists all their deals, including big-dollar coupons up to 150 bucks off.
If you can wait, here's one last tip... take advantage of the tax free weekend. This year in Ohio, it's August fifth through seventh.
And if you want to save on back to school clothes or uniforms, James said avoid traditional uniform stores. You'll probably overpay. May retailers, such as Lands' End, Old Navy and Gap now offer school uniform pants, shorts skirts and shorts. They also offer deals throughout the season.