Back To School Shopping Without Breaking The Bank

For the past two months, visions of three ring binders and colorful folders danced in 10-year-old Julia Roberts' mind.

"They may not be on the list, but..." Julia pleaded to her mom.

That's when her mother Mary steps in.

"You have to watch what you're doing. They can get out of hand. I let her come because I like to let her pick stuff out," Mary Roberts said.

Ten cent notebooks and shelves of markers, all at discount prices, are catching the eyes of many shoppers.

"I'll be like, 'Mom, I want this!' She'll be like, 'Yeah, let's wait on that for a few days,'" Julia said.

But in the 21st century, is it still just about the basics? The National Retail Federation expects electronic sales to surge this back to school season. On this shopping trip, we didn't find anyone looking for computers, but some families say, maybe next year.

"Next year we are going to need a lot of electronics, I can tell you that!" Julia said.

Third grade teacher Harriet Wright says budgeting is important, and taking advantage of deals now can save money once class is in session.

"In a couple of months, those prices will be back up to regular price, and it really does make a difference," Wright said.

The Roberts made it out on $54.84. That's not counting clothes, shoes, or a backpack, which might fill another basket.

"You do spend anywhere from $150 to $200, it's according to what you buy," Mary Roberts said.

But if that means a fresh start on a new school year, this family says it's worth it.

If you haven't purchased all your back-to-school items yet, we have a shopping tip for you. August 3rd - 5th is a tax-free weekend in Alabama. And that applies to school supplies, clothes, and computers. Mississippi does not have a tax-free weekend, so that discount won't apply if you prefer to shop here at home.