5 tips for sensible back-to-school spending

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Students may not be thrilled about their summer break drawing to a close, but retailers couldn’t be happier.

That’s because back-to-school shopping traditionally brings in a windfall that’s second only to the December holiday season.

The average family with kids in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend $669.28 on clothes, electronics and other school-related needs this back-to-school season, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation. That amounts to a 5 percent increase from last year.

To help gin up sales, many stores roll out discounts and some states even get in on the act, offering sales tax holidays for clothing, backpacks, even computers.

Hit the stores without a plan, and you could end up overspending.

“It’s an important time to keep a handle on your finances because in the frenzy to get organized it’s easy to make bad purchase decisions,” said Jack Gillis, director of public affairs for the Consumer Federation of America.

Here are five ways to make sure your back-to-school shopping spree stays doesn’t empty your wallet:

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