More cash, less stress: Tricks for buying school supplies

NEW ORLEANS - "It sneaks up on you. The summer just goes by so fast and the next thing you know it's August and you haven't done any of your school supply shopping," says Angelina Vicknair of New Orleans Moms Blog.

If you want to save money, Angelina says you need to be willing to store-hop. You may get glue sticks on sale at one place and crayons at another. Getting all the deals could require driving around town.

She says larger retailers such as Wal-Mart and Target tend to provide the biggest discounts, but advises savvy shoppers to pay attention to specialty stores as well, like Michael's or Office Depot,  as they often have valuable coupons - such as "Buy one, Get one free."

Another way to fatten your wallet is with the website, ebates.com .

"You can do it online you can just click it and say 'go shop,' or you can scan in the receipt afterwards if you're shopping in person," says Angelina.

Sticking to the list is important, and that's easier to do if you leave young kids at home. Younger shoppers are more likely to want spontaneous purchases, which can be a challenging money-water for parents.

If your kids are bored with the standard choices required by the school, let them choose something fun for an item that doesn't have restrictions, such as backpacks, lunch kits or pencil cases.

It's also important to purchase supplies for any designated 'at home' study areas. Allowing your kids to express their personality with a special chair, character folders or colorful pencils could be motivational when it comes to getting them to focus on homework.