ARA -- As the end of summer nears, the flashing red lights of yellow school buses will caution drivers to stop as students board.
College students will pull out of driveways with cars filled to the brim with dorm room supplies.
And the school bells will echo across the playground, signaling the start and end of classroom learning.
Of course, before school starts in the fall, parents will tackle the task of back-to-school shopping.
The "must-buy" list often doesn't change much from year to year. Students of all ages and schooling levels will need pencils, notebooks, new clothes, backpacks and folders.
As you develop a shopping list for your children this year, consider making the back-to-school shopping experience a bit easier by staying home, shopping online and saving money.
Use these tips for better back-to-school savings.
* Regular school supplies like pencils, pens, rulers and notebooks are best found via big box retailers. But often in the stores, the back-to-school aisles look as if a whirlwind trashed the place.
Instead, calmly sit at home with your list in front of you and order the supplies your children need via the retailers' websites. In addition, use cash back sites like Ebates.com, to find extra savings, both on shopping list items and shipping costs. By having all the supplies delivered to your home, you'll have saved yourself the time and stress of taking the children to the store.
* Shop the back-to-school sales online. Many retailers will designate a day, week or even month promoting their back-to-school discounts, and some states will designate a tax-free shopping day for school items and clothing.
Take advantage of these savings, and look for "buy one, get one free" offers (very helpful if you have more than one child heading back to school) or free shipping coupon codes to add even more savings.
* Some online coupon sites like Ebates.com offer cash back on your purchases.
For example, when shopping for school supplies online, visit your favorite retail stores through Ebates.com, make your purchases and receive cash back rewards based on a percentage of your purchase.
Plus, the back-to-school shopping season will bring increased cash back from dozens of popular stores, so take a little time to compare the best cash back rates with each store's coupon codes and discounts to make the most of any available savings.
* College students often qualify for student discounts when using a valid student ID.
Electronics like laptop computers and smartphones are typically the biggest budget items on a college student's back-to-school shopping list. Search for seasonal discounts and coupon codes at computer and mobile brand online stores, like HP, Dell, AT&T and Verizon, where additional savings can be gleaned with a student ID.
Also, use FatWallet.com as a resource for detailed student and teacher discount guides in the FatWallet blog and check their hot deals forum for the latest back-to-school deals.
Staying home and accomplishing the entire shopping list for your student's back-to-school supplies without having to drive all over town will leave everyone in your family a bit happier and better prepared for the first day of school.
Plus, the extra savings you can find while shopping online will help your budget.