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The back-to-school shopping season is the second-biggest spending event of the year, just behind Christmas.

It's estimated that Canadian parents will shell out an average of $621 between now and Labour Day, and a total of $55.12-billion will be spent in the United States, according to The National Retail Federation.

With September approaching, now seems to be the time to implement some smart spending strategies and teach our kids a few important financial lessons in the process.

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Step 1 is to get organized and scour your home for items you already have, says Debbie Frye, general manager at, which features local flyers and coupons for Canadian retailers.

Then, prioritize your purchases and have your children make a list of their needs and wants.

The Globe's Back to School Guide

This list should stick with you while shopping. A spending plan should also be attached. These items will help you avoid any overspending or unnecessary debates at the mall. A few minutes of online research will also help you to secure the best prices. This is an opportune time to involve your kids, as they're likely more savvy with the online searches.

Providing incentives - like telling your kids they can keep the dollar difference if they find necessary items cheaper and spend it on their "wants" - will motivate them even more to search and save.

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About the Author
Angela Self

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies, a group of five women who specialize in personal finance. They are hosts of a self-titled show on the W Network and the authors of The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough. More

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