Back to school. Three little words that carry a lot of weight. For kids, it may be the anxiety of a new class and new teacher. For parents, it may be the chunk this time of the year will take out of their checkbook.

No doubt, August is notoriously an expensive month for parents. School clothes, school supplies, registration fees, and extra curriculum activity fees. If you homeschool, add on all the costs of curriculum and you feel like all you see is dollar signs everywhere you look!

I’m all about a bargain and always on the lookout for a good deal. So here are a few of my personal tips for saving money this time of the year.

  • Recycle clothing fundraiser – have your kids go through their closets and take out all that no longer fits them. If they are in relatively good shape, take pictures of them, write up a description, and list the items for sale on eBay. In no time, you will raise money to purchase clothes for the new school year.
  • Look for retailer coupons – this time of year many retailers offer free cash if you spend a certain amount. Look for sale or clearance items and once you combine that savings with the retailer’s additional coupon, you’ve gotten a great deal!
  • Buy/sell used curriculum – if you homeschool, take advantage of the many places you can buy and sell your used curriculum. Check out these places online: eBay, HSLDA’s Curriculum Market, or Educational Accents.
  • Join a Buyers co-op – for homeschool families, check out online the Homeschool Buyers Co-op (www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org) that enables you to get deep discounts just like school districts receive.

For additional ideas, check out Good Morning America’s segment on Back to School Bargains for 2011.

Whatever you do, don’t fret … the bargains are around!