It's that time again: back to school shopping! I started a little this past weekend. Is it me or does every year seem like the prices on a box of crayons or a notebooks goes up? Like all moms, I would definitely love to save money when stocking my kids' bookbags as they head back to the classroom.

According to consumer reports, here are some helpful tips for back to school shopping.

  1. Wait to buy - Get when you need to get started, then wait until the middle or end of September to get the rest. That's typically when stores start moving out the school supplies in place of Halloween costumes and decorations. You might be able to score some big discounts if you can hold off a few extra weeks.
  2. Find Out When the Tax Free Holiday takes place - For Missouri and Iowa, the dates are August 4 through 6. Sorry, Illinois. No Tax Free Holiday for you this year.
  3. Online Shopping - This can be the best tool you have at your disposal. You can price out the different items in order to find the best deal, but more importantly, you don't have to drag the kids anywhere and have them pick out what they want. SAVE YOUR SANITY! Some websites will offer free shipping, so make sure you shop around.
  4. Check prices - Many stores like Walmart, Target and Best Buy will price match their competitors. Could save you a trip or two.
  5. Have a plan - Make sure you know what you NEED and what you WANT (there is a difference). If you just go blind without a plan, you will definitely get more than what is needed. Trust me on that!

Back to school shopping can be fun (might have to get a bottle of wine afterwards). Just think, soon we'll be talking all about holiday shopping which, in my opinion, is way more fun...but also requires a glass or two of wine.