Ai, yi, yi — it’s August already! Time to buy the kids new backpacks and school supplies. How is it that an innocent little list of stuff can get so spendy? And I don’t know why, but somehow I ALWAYS forget something on the list. My eyes glaze over and I cross off “glue sticks” or some such but never put them in my shopping cart.

The one thing I’ve learned (I’m such a veteran now, with a 6th grader!) that does save me bucks is NOT to stock up on back-to-school clothing by Sept. 1. When I used to do that, I’d invariably OVERbuy. I see now that it’s OK to start the school year with just a few new items, then see if the girls really need more shirts or underwear later. And really–I have a little time before they need tights. I don’t need to have them in the drawer by the first day of school. Plus, they will definitely be on sale after the September rush is over.

Here are some other ideas on cutting back-to-school costs from “The Family Manager”–Kathy Peel. I’ve interviewed her for several parenting-related articles and she’s one smart cookie. Her books are great, too.