If the thought of spending $634.78 on back-to-school shopping makes you cringe, you're not alone.
That's the average amount a family is expected to spend this year on clothes, school supplies and electronics, according to a National Retail Federation survey.
But they won't spend happily. More than 80% of families say the sluggish economy has them changing the way they do their shopping.
"Some consumers are really still feeling the pinch," says Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO.
So we poked around locally and found some ways for you to save. Here's what we found.
JCPenney at Fashion Fair mall unveiled its new Joe Fresh Kids line of affordable clothing in early July. The clothes for boys and girls are almost all under $40. They include $10 polka dot leggings for girls and $35 faux leather motorcycle jackets for boys.
The line is modern and trendy, says the store's manager Steve Petlewski.
"It's really really cute," he says. "It does look different than other stuff that we have."
You can find it on the second floor at Penney's.
The Valley has seen an influx of Family Dollar and Dollar General stores since the last back-to-school season, including the opening of the latest Dollar General store just a few weeks ago at 5166 E. Olive Ave. in Fresno.
Both of the stores sell discounted school supplies. Though Target still lures customers in with some of the best deals around on basics, such as 17-cent notebooks, Family Dollar and Dollar General tend to have lower prices on things like backpacks and child's scissors.
Dollar General also has weekly deals and coupons featured in its "back to school books" available in stores. The deals run through Sept. 24 and include markdowns such as crayons for 1 cent.
If taking a $600 bite out of the paycheck feels a bit too painful, several experts recommend people wait to finish their back-to-school shopping.
With our hot weather, kids may not be wearing pants and long sleeves until several months from now anyway. If you can hold out until November, that clothing will go on sale, says Regina Novickis, a savings expert for PromotionalCodes.com.
"Around the holiday sales in particular, all of that stuff goes on sale again," she says.
The same goes for computers and other technology. They go on sale on Black Friday — that's the only day that Apple has a sale — and stores often clear out inventory beforehand to make room for that Black Friday merchandise, she says.
Novickis also recommends waiting to buy that lunch box or backpack with your kid's favorite character on it. He or she may find that Dora the Explorer or Skylanders just isn't cool anymore.
"They might get into school and figure out that their friends aren't into that anymore and then you've made a purchase that won't last them throughout the year," she says.
People in the Valley love their coupons. This time of year, many retailers have coupons that can be used on supplies.
Target has back-to-school and back-to-college sections on its coupon site at Coupons.target.com. Print out the coupons before you go shopping. The coupons can also be stacked with other coupons, such as ones from the manufacturer.
Various blogs track back-to-school deals, too, including TheKrazyCouponLady.com and FaithfulProvisions.com.
For online shoppers, particularly those looking for clothing, sites such as PromotionalCodes.com and Coupons.com track coupon codes that offer discounts and free shipping.
The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.