Wise up this back-to-school season. Let our savings cheat sheet help you budget your spending on supplies and gears.

By Dawn Papandrea

Pop Quiz: Is it possible to stick to your back-to-school shopping budget? Despite extreme markdowns, acing this money midterm isn't as simple as it seems. That's why Family Circle turned to frugal-living "tutors" for a cram session on shopping smarter. We're happy to let you share our notes!

Classy Causes

Did you know that teachers spend up to $1,000 of their own money every school year to purchase materials for their classrooms? That's $1.3 billion annually! It's no wonder when you consider that 16 million students in America struggle to afford basic school supplies, according to DoSomething.org. Here's how you can help out with a donation.









  • DonorsChoose gives teachers a platform to share their classroom wish list. Search by city, school or project type to find and fund a cause that resonates with you.
  • Adopt-A-Classroom puts money directly into teachers' accounts so that they can purchase classroom supplies online.
  • If you shop at Office Depot, your child's school can receive 5% back on qualifying purchases.
  • Operation Backpack, led by Volunteers of America (VOA), collects backpacks filled with grade-specific school supplies in various VOA chapter locations throughout the nation.
  • If you use Target's REDcard credit or debit card, choose any eligible K-12 school to receive a donation worth up to 1% of your purchases through its Take Charge of Education program.
  • Kids in Need Foundation lets you donate money or supplies through a variety of giving options.
  • At Staples, shoppers can donate $1, with 100% of the proceeds used to buy school supplies to help children via local Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
  • Stop and Shop's A+ School Rewards lets you automatically earn points on purchases of participating grocery products, which translate into dollars for the school of your choice.