The National Retail Federation predicts combined spending for back to school and college is expected to reach $74.9 billion, or $669.28 per family on apparel, shoes, supplies and electronics, up 5 percent from last year. That’s quite a bit of money for many Oklahoma families, so it’s best to try and make that dollar amount stretch as much as possible.


Here’s a tip from Oklahoma CPA’s on a way to ace the budget:


Keep your eye out for deals.


Your children don’t have to start the first day of school with a closet full of new outfits. Buy the necessities prior to the first day of class and then keep an eye on sales, coupons, online Groupon or Living Social type Deals and other bargains throughout the year to finish out the rest. Plus, if your child experiences a huge growth spurt, you won’t have wasted your entire year’s clothing budget at the beginning of the school year.


If you buy out-of-season (e.g., buying winter clothes in the summer and summer clothes in the winter), you can estimate what size you think your child will be or you can buy a couple of sizes larger and give your child room to grow. It’s best, however, to only use this strategy with clothing basics. Buying trendy items means you run the risk of buying clothes your children won’t want to wear because they are no longer in style.