It might as well be Christmas!  Back-to-school is one of the most expensive times of the year for parents, with an average spend of $849 per child.  Broadway Square Mall is offering freebies, and other Tyler stores have good deals too to give us an assist.

Oh, MATH.  Math is not something I want to do on a regular basis, especially if the sum tells me that back-to-school shopping for three kids will cost me $2546.70.  To use the girls' favorite word, this is "terrifying."  Literally.

The National Retail Federation says the average back-to-school bill is going to run $848.90, and that's $60 higher than last year when we had the added expense of extra masks and hand sanitizer.  This year, we'll spend the most on clothes and electronics, apparently.  We need some great deals.

Broadway Square Mall wants us to do our back-to-school shopping there, and several stores had some enticing deals over the tax-free shopping weekend August 6-8.  The Buckle rarely offers a percentage off, and they're still offering 15% off at Broadway Square Mall.  And if you become a Mall Insider you can win a $1000 shopping spree.  That would take care of back-to-school shopping for a kid and a half.

RetailMeNot highlights deals and discounts too and came up with a list of stores that will save us the most money.

8 Best Stores for Back-to-School Shopping, according to RetailMeNot.

1.  Target - Gift cards with qualifying purchases inside the Target app.

2.  Walmart - The prices are always low, and the #2 pencils are cheap.

3.  Staples - $25 off a $75 purchase

4.  Best Buy - Student deals on electronics

5.  Office Max/Office Depot - $10 off a $50 purchase

6.  Old Navy - Extra discounts with an Old Navy credit card.

7.  Kohls - KOHLS CASH.  And up to 30 percent off when you use your Kohls card.

8.  Costco - Get a $40 shop card and $40 off of a $250 purchase with auto-renew.

Soon the kids will be asking for help with math homework, so adding up how much we'll be in the hole for highlighters and hoodies now will be good practice.  That's one way to look at it.

Hopefully, with a little bargain-hunting and a big win at Broadway Square Mall, we can get it all done for less than $848.  And you know, parents, we're going to buy some new blue gel pens and plastic pencil cases for ourselves because they smell good and they're fun.  We just have to find the best place to do it.

Have a great year!

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