The first day of the new school year is a few short weeks away; all you have left to do is back-to-school shopping.

No problem, right?

But then you take a look at that long list of school supplies and realize all your kid needs is ... everything!

Heading to the store with a long list of school supplies can hit a wallet hard.

Here are tips to avoid spending beyond your budget:

●Take inventory of supplies you have. Items like unfilled notebooks and used pencils can be used the next year. There may be no need to buy new supplies.

●Check with the teacher to see if any items are not needed until later in the school year. You may be able to put off that purchase until you have a chance to save.

●Shop on the tax-free weekend to save on paying sales tax. This year, Florida’s tax-free day is the weekend of Aug. 5.

●For back-to-school clothes, arrange a clothing swap party with other parents. Trade clothes your child has outgrown for clothes from another growing youngster.

●Teach your child to save by setting a budget; they will learn how to compare prices, use coupons and shop for-sale items.

Want to take another step to saving money? Visit Okaloosasaves.org to pledge to save.

Throughout July, children can still make a deposit to a new or existing bank account, at participating financial partners, and complete an entry form for the Okaloosa Saves Teach a Child to Save campaign. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 deposit. Visit Okaloosasaves.org for additional details.

For more tips or help saving money, feel free to contact me at the extension office, 689-5850 or jbreslawski@ufl.edu, and check out www.okaloosasaves.org to take the America Saves Pledge and also follow Okaloosa Saves on Facebook and Twitter. 

Jill Breslawski is an agent at the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension office in Crestview.