By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s August, and that means back-to-school shopping is in full swing. If you’re looking for some ways to save some money, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some advice.

The average parent with school-age kids is on track to spend more than $688 dollars on back-to-school clothes and supplies this year.

Consumer Reports and Shop Smart Magazine Editor Sue Perry recommends a little planning before hitting the mall to get more bang for your buck during the back-to-school season.

“Probably you’ve got note paper, maybe a couple of notebooks, certainly you’ve got pens and pencils and things like that, so you want to take an inventory of what you already have and then build your list around that,” Perry says.

Buy basic supplies in bulk to use year-round. Retailers will deeply discount certain loss-leaders during the back-to-school season–things like notebooks, folders, and pens. Use the web to hunt for sales instead of going store-to-store. Spoofee puts deals from weekly circulars in one place. PriceGrabber and Nextag allow you to compare prices and set up price alerts.

For the biggest share of back-to-school spending, clothing, Perry suggests that you start small. She says, “You don’t have to start your child off with a full wardrobe. Kids love clothes, they like to have clothes going back to school, but you don’t have to go and buy everything all at once.”

After all, soon summer will give way to fall, meaning clothes for colder temperatures and Columbus Day sales.