El Paso, Texas (NAPSI) - School days can mean back-to-back expenses for many families. From purchasing school supplies and new shoes to backpacks and haircuts, parents can be pressed for money and time but you don’t have to be among them. It can help to heed these ideas:

Take It Online

Check out the official websites and social media pages of the places you shop to get exclusive deals or learn about promotions. Many retailers offer e-mail and texting programs for their customers to receive coupons and announcements electronically. Another free option is to “Like” a retailer’s Facebook page to stay up to date on special offers. These are quick no-cost options for saving money. Plus, you can usually opt out at any time.

Shop Sales

Seasonal sales can be a great time to stock up on clothes and supplies throughout the year. You could even squeeze in some early holiday shopping.

Stick To The List

When it comes to school supplies, it’s better to waste not, want not. Teachers will typically issue an official list that covers all the necessary supplies needed for their classes. It’s often best to use this list instead of blindly buying what the kids want or think they need. Also, take a look around your home for basic supplies you may already have in stock such as paper, pencils and pens.

Some larger big-box office supply chains offer “Fill A Bag” promotions, where shoppers can stock up and save as much as 20 percent. Many chains also offer “One Cent” campaigns on paper and pens or “Buy One, Get One” (BOGO) deals on more expensive notebooks. Remember that to take advantage of the best deals, retailers want shoppers to buy more, so consider shopping with a friend to share savings. Try calling the office supply store to find out when it will have a special sale. Most store managers know what is coming up at least a week in advance.

Practice One-Stop Shopping

Part of the stress of school shopping is the driving. Save time and (gas) money by limiting the number of stops. Most grocery stores carry basic school supplies, so you can combine your grocery and school supply shopping. Some big-box retailers offer groceries and retail in one shop; or you can target a shopping center or mall that has everything you need. That way, you can save all the back-and-forth driving for carpooling the kids to after-school activities.

Dine Out

This may seem like a contradictory tip, but dining out at restaurants that offer meal specials helps save time and money. For example, Ryan’s®, HomeTown® Buffet and Old Country Buffet® host Family Night every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., where kids 11 and younger eat for just 99 cents. The restaurants offer a wide variety of home-style meals, so even the pickiest of eaters will likely find something to enjoy. Each Family Night also features family-friendly activities that let kids and parents have fun while enjoying a delicious meal. The whole family can have a night out that won’t break the bank. Plus, no one in the family has to cook or clean after the meal is done, which can mean more quality time together.