It's back-to-school season, which means new shoes, apparel, gear and technology for kids -- and a gigantic Visa statement for parents. According to a recent report by Forbes, parents of kids in K-12 will spend an average of $873 per child, while college parents will spend more than $1,100 per child.

Multiply this by a few kids -- and that's a lot of money!

If you're looking for ways to save this back-to-school season, you've come to the right place. Here are 5:

1. Buy used books.

If your child needs books for English classes, or AP-level textbooks, do yourself a favor and buy used! Half Price Books is a great local resource for finding current best-sellers and literary classics. You can also take the online route and visit Amazon.com for an extensive, comprehensive selection of textbooks, guides, classics -- whatever you need!

2. Hit the outlets.

Outlet malls usually sell the same stuff you'd find at the mall, for a fraction of the price. Around Cincinnati, there's the Gap Factory Outlet in Hebron, KY; Cincinnati Premium Outlets in Monroe; and the Tanger Outlets in Jeffersonville. You can usually go online ahead of time and find out when stores will be running sales/promotions.

3. Shop second-hand sales

Every fall, there are several consignment sales where parents can get everything from clothing, toys, books, games and kids' furniture. Think “neighborhood garage sale,” but bigger, better and all in one place! Most of these sales charge a small admission fee (a dollar or two), as well as a fee for using credit cards. This is a great way to stick to a budget: you take out a certain amount of cash, and stick to spending only that!

4. Purchase "refurbished" technology

Did you know that Best Buy sells refurbished laptops, in any brand, for a fraction of what they would cost new? The "Geek Squad" thoroughly examines and tests all used equipment, so you're getting the equivalent of a "certified pre-owned" car. You can purchase a warranty with all refurbished equipment, too.

You can also purchase a refurbished Mac, Dell or HP -- and all of these companies include warranties with their products.

5. Don't go "back-to-school" crazy

Does your child really need four new pairs of jeans? A winter coat? New shoes? It's easy to get swept up in back-to-school "sales," but think about what your child truly needs. Most places don't get cold enough to require outdoor apparel until November or December, so maybe Santa can cover that stuff. Let your child go to school a few weeks and see what he really needs, what the other kids are wearing, etc. The sales will still be there -- retailer has been struggling, so trust me: they will keep offering deals to tempt shoppers! You might even get a better deal if you wait.

So follow these tips to save some money this back-to-school season! You may have enough left over to bolster your kids' college funds.

Photo credits: Sarah M.
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