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Consumer Advocate: Ways to save when back-to-school shopping

Whether you like it or not, it's time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping. (WJAR)

Whether you like it or not, it's time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping.

And if you thought last year was expensive, brace yourself.

This year, the National Retail Federation is predicting an eight percent spike in back-to-school spending, with the average family shelling out close to $700 -- or nearly $1,000 for you're buying for a college student.

In total, the NRF expects Americans will spend $83.6 billion shopping for back-to-school.

What's behind the surge?

“More focused on electronics,” said Johnson and Wales University Marketing Professor Kristen Regine. “And then you also have the millennial parent, who is also an average user of technology, and therefore buying some of those tablets and laptops.”

Electronics now eat up a huge chunk of the back-to-school bill, starting in elementary school.

NBC 10 stopped by the Best Buy in Warwick in search of savings

“Some of the deals that are active now are better than some of the deals we’ll have during the holidays,” said Best Buy Sales Manager Erik Rego.

All month, Best Buy is offering "student deals" to all grade levels, as well as teachers, including $100 off many laptops, notebooks and tablets.

“We just had new deals set up for August, and on top of that too, we have price match guarantee, so if you buy a product today and then two weeks from now it goes on sale, we match that,” said Rego.

You can save even more by trading in your old electronics before you start shopping.

Regine also recommends browsing the web for coupon codes before you make any purchases.

“I think one of the best things to do is to use technology to help facilitate when the good sales are,” said Regine. “One of the ones I really like is The Krazy Coupon Lady.”

The Krazy Coupon Lady offers a map of where to find the best deals of the week, along with coupons, of course.

If you prefer do all your shopping at one store, download that specific store's app. Companies like Target and CVS typically load their apps with coupons.

Regine said it’s always a good idea to show your school ID, whether you’re a teacher or student. Even if it's not advertised, most stores offer teacher and student discounts, but you have to ask.

“On average, parents are spending over $100 just on those back-to-school office supplies, so I think if you can shave that down and spend half of that by getting some of these really good deals, it is worth your time,” said Regine.

It's also a great time to take advantage of summer clearance savings, especially when it comes to apparel. Shop for tee shirts and shorts now and wait for markdowns on jeans and sweaters.

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