(MONEY.USNEWS) — The back-to-school shopping season is in full swing. The National Retail Federation reports that shoppers will be spending an average of $688 for back-to-school supplies this year.

This can be a significant sum for most families, but there are ways to cut costs. Whether you decide to shop online or head to your nearest big box store for those much-needed school supplies, you can save some money on this annual expense with a few smart shopping strategies—even if you’ve waited until the last minute to stock up on all of the essentials.

Here are five ways to save money on back-to-school expenses:

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