Preparing for a new school year doesn't have to break the bank. 

Summer vacation is coming to an end, so it's time to stock up on supplies to help your child succeed in the new academic year. Here are four ways to save on back-to-school shopping. Shop by yourself! When kids tag along, they often pick out more expensive items. Running errands solo allows you to stick to your list while being mindful about prices.

Avoid any products involving popular characters. Your kid may think it's cool to have Black Panther or Hello Kitty on their notebook, but it's going to be 20-30% more expensive. Instead of splurging, purchase stickers of their favorite character. They can decorate their blank supplies without the huge expense.

Check your child's backpack first before shopping. In emptying out last year's mess, you'll be able to see what truly needs to be replaced. Things like erasers, staplers, glue sticks, pencils, and pens might last another school year. Those extra funds will have you paying less at check out.

Check office supplies stores. Stores like Office Max, Office Depot or Staples tend to have better back-to-school sales. Some offer deals like one-cent pencils, five-cent glue sticks, or ten-cent folders. These locations typically have a limited supply – so, check the sales flyer and pounce when the number is right! The new year will be less expensive with these tricks in mind.