KEY POINTS\r\n\r\n \tBack to school can cost families of 5 upward of $3,000 for supplies and extracurricular activities.\r\n \tRecycle school supplies from last year, buy new supplies during off season sales, and plan year round.\r\n \tSet a sports budget and gauge what you can afford each year.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nWith back-to-school season in full swing, parents around the country are bracing themselves for more than the strict school schedules their little ones need. They\u2019re also mentally preparing to shell out some fat cash.\r\n\r\nAccording to a recent study from Huntington Bank, school supplies and extracurricular for the 2015-16 school year activities will cost an average of:\r\n\r\n$649 for elementary school students\r\n$941 for middle school students\r\n$1,402 for high school students\r\n\r\nIn other words, a family with 3 kids \u2013 1 in elementary school, 1 in middle school, and 1 in high school student \u2013 will pay over $3,000 annually for education costs, not even counting tuition.\r\n\r\nOuch.\r\n\r\nIf those figures sound high, it\u2019s because they are. The Huntington Bank survey notes that the cost of supplies and extracurricular activities for school-aged children has risen 85% at the elementary level, 78% for middle school students, and 57% for high school students since they started tracking these numbers in 2007.\r\n\r\nUnfortunately, many families feel the heat of these rising costs, struggling to keep up when wage increases don\u2019t make up for the difference. Huntington Bank Director of Economics, George Mokrzan, says, \u201cWith the ongoing slow growth in wages, it is difficult for many families to meet the rising costs of sending children to school. For a family of 5 living at the poverty level guideline of $28,410, the cost of sending three children to school would consume as much as 10% of their income.\u201d\r\n7 Ways To Save On School Supplies And Extracurricular Activities\r\nFortunately, there are plenty of ways that parents at any income level can save, both on back-to-school costs and on extracurricular activities all year. And while these tactics can\u2019t make school free, they\u2019ll take a bit of the sting out of your child\u2019s education costs.\r\nTip #1: Reuse And Repurpose School Supplies.\r\nSchool supplies aren\u2019t always cheap, but at least they don\u2019t expire. Last year\u2019s pencils will work great again this year, and probably the next one after that.\r\n\r\nBut pencils aren\u2019t the only reusable back-to-school item. The key is staying organized and keeping barely-used supplies in a place you can find them the following year. That way, you can quickly take inventory before you shop.\r\n\r\nAndrea Deckard of SavingsLifestyle.com comments, \u201cWe reuse a lot of school supplies from previous years like binders, pencil punches, scissors, backpacks and lunch bags. That helps keep the supply costs low.\u201d\r\nTip #2: Shop Off-Season For Kids\u2019 Clothes.\r\nWhether your kid wears uniforms or picks their own outfits for school, the best way to save is to shop for clothes at the end of each season for the next year. So this fall, you could save a bundle by buying warm weather clothing for next year.\r\n\r\n\u201cIn early fall, retailers are getting rid of their summer stuff, and there\u2019s often incredible markdowns on high quality garments,\u201d says Trent Hamm from The Simple Dollar. \u201cThe same thing is true with winter items in early spring, and spring and fall items at the end of those seasons.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis strategy takes some guesswork around what size clothing your kids will be in, so it pays to err on the larger side. If you buy too big, you can always stash the item away for the following year. Buy too small, on the other hand, and your kid will be wearing capri pants in the middle of winter.\r\nTip #3: Set A School Clothing Budget \u2013 And Stick To It.\r\nWhat\u2019s the trick to back-to-school clothes? You don\u2019t always have to go shopping for them.\r\n\r\n\u201cShop your closets first,\u201d says Tracie Richmond Fobes of PennyPinchinMom.com. \u201cWe first shop our closets - so we know what they really need. We don't have to have a lot of jeans, long sleeve shirts, etc. to start the school year,\u201d she says.\r\n\r\nBy building on the wardrobe your children already have, you can cut down on the amount of new clothes you have to purchase. And this is where budgeting comes in. Once you determine how much your kids really need, you should set a realistic clothing budget and make them stick to it. Lucky are the parents of kids who wear school uniforms!\r\n\r\n\u201cWe budget $100 per kid for clothing for back to school, says Lauren Greutman of IAmThatLady.com. \u201cOur children wear school uniforms, so it is easier (and less expensive) to have to purchase them.\u201d\r\nTip #4: When It Comes To Activities And Sports, Realize You Can\u2019t Do It All.\r\nAccording to Travis Dorsch, Utah State University professor, recent research on the financial implications of children\u2019s sports shows that many parents are spending up to 10.5% of their gross income on extracurricular activities and travel sports.\r\n\u201cA family bringing in $50,000 a year could be spending $5,500,\u201d Dorsch told The New York Times.\r\n\r\nUnfortunately, most families can\u2019t bear that kind of expense without consequences. Even worse is the fact that some parents justify the expense because they think their kid will earn a scholarship. Most won\u2019t. The bottom line is, parents should realize they can\u2019t do it all when it comes to extracurricular activities, nor should anyone expect them to.\r\nTip #5: Try One Sport At A Time \u2013 Or Set Up A Sporting Budget.\r\nWith the costs involved in extracurricular activities at an all-time high, a good strategy is to stick to one \u201cextra\u201d activity at a time, especially for families with more than one child. Activities get expensive, and they also eat into quality family time.\r\n\r\nGreutman recommends taking the most expensive sports completely off the table if needed. In her household, the kids \u201care not allowed to be on travel teams at this point because we just couldn't keep up with that,\u201d she says. \u201cThe activity must be under $100 to sign up and not require the entire family to travel for meets or games.\u201d\r\n\r\nAnother strategy: Set up a cost and time budget for sporting events. \u201cIt's difficult to manage the time and money associated with extracurricular activities, so a good best practice is to give each kid a time and money budget,\u201d suggests Shannon McLay, financial planner and CEO of FinancialGym.net. That way, one child won\u2019t take up too many resources.\r\nTip #6: Whatever You\u2019re Budgeting For, Plan Year Round.\r\nElisabeth Kelly of MatterofLifeorDebt.com homeschools her kids, but still finds herself dealing with the same set of expenses. Her answer? Budget for it all year on a weekly, or monthly, basis.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe began saving for "back to school" much like we save for the holidays using the 52-week method that became so popular about 3 years ago,\u201d explains Kelly, adding that they bump up their contributions when they know bigger expenses were on the way. \u201cWe've doubled our contributions at times knowing we wanted to accommodate activities including baseball, ballet, spring break camps, and other events.\u201d\r\nTip #7: Use Apps To Compare Prices.\r\nSaving and budgeting for school supplies is a huge step in the right direction, but how can you save when it\u2019s time to actually buy? Use apps to save, says Greutman, including apps offered by stores that sell school supplies and other back-to-school items, like clothing and shoes.\r\n\r\nAs for Greutman, she uses the Favado app to compare prices across stores. \u201cIf I am looking for a great deal on markers, I can use that app to find the price of markers across all my local stores,\u201d says Greutman. \u201cIt helps save time.\u201d\r\n\r\nTo avoid trekking from store to store, Greutman suggests using Walmart\u2019s price-matching policy to get all of your items in one place. \u201cThat helps me save money on gas and time as well.\u201d\r\nThe Bottom Line\r\nEven when you don\u2019t consider the costs of education and extracurricular activities, kids are expensive. They need food and shelter, as well as healthcare, social interaction, furniture, and all kinds of things that aren\u2019t cheap to come by. That\u2019s why it\u2019s important to brainstorm ways to save on recurring expenses like school costs. With kids heading back to school every single year, even a small amount of savings annually can add up in a big way.\r\n\r\nSo consider these tips, but whatever you do, don\u2019t fail to plan for the costs of educating and nurturing your child. With the cost of being a parent surging to greater heights each year, you\u2019re going to need all the savings you can find.\r\n\r\nTake the 1st step to tracking your finances with our award-winning app\r\n\r\nThis article has been updated and was originally published on September 2, 2015.