EARLY YEARS: Think consignment, shopping apps and buying in bulk to save money on Back to School

ROANOKE, Va. Let's face it, sending kids back to school can get EXPENSIVE.

According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend d an average $696.70. That's up from $684.79 last year.

For families looking to spend less, there are consignment options, like Once Upon a Child. This time of year is especially busy there.

"People are bringing their stuff in, purging closets and shopping for their kids," says store manager Andrea Strom.

It's a great way to replenish your child's wardrobe, without breaking the bank.

"Where else can you go and get Under Armour and Nike for $5.00 to $7.00 when it's $30.00 in the store," says Strom.

Other places to find a bargain include Plato's Closet, for older kids.
There are also consignment events like Back on the Rack and LFA Consignment Events.

But what about school supplies?
Beth Bell with Macaroni Kid Roanoke says to check your own inventory.

"So, first of all look around your house.You'd be surprised at what your kids brought home with them at the end of the school year," Bell says.

If you have more than one child, Bell suggests buying supplies in bulk, so you can replenish those items mid- year.

Once you have the supply list in hand, Bell says it's better to shop without your kids, because they'll likely choose pricier items.

Better yet, just skip the store all together.

"A lot of stores have these apps now. Kroger has one. Walmart, Target, they all do. And you can just throw all the supplies in a shopping cart and you'll easily be able to see where it's cheaper to get what items," says Bell.

Bell says Ebates is a great money saver, since you can earn cash back.

One thing she says you don't want to skimp on is the backpack, since they can be used year after year.

With most families having to stick to a budget, it doesn't look like the consignment business is going away anytime soon.

"We've always been busy. I don't think that this will ever go away, because money's always important to try to save money," says Strom.

You'll find a link to the National Retail Federation and Macaroni Kid Roanoke to the right of this story.