You may not be sending the kids back to school today or tomorrow, but it's coming soon (where did the summer go?) and the sales are popping up all over, so take advantage of them.
A thread called "Shopping Challenge: School Supplies is a good place to start finding the best sales.
But besides supplies, clothing takes a big bite out of the budget if your child goes to public school. Here are a few ideas to help cut that cost:
Go through the closet and drawers, making note of what needs to be replaced. While you're at it, check the coat closet. Make a master list - not of everything you have to rush downtown and buy tomorrow, but of things that are needed that you can keep an eye out for. Make note of colors and styles that need to be matched.
Don't go shopping all at once for those things, but watch for sales and shop garage sales for some things. Your kids can only wear one set of clothes at a time anyway, so don't go whole hog in buying an entire wardrobe at one time. A real money saving strategy is to wait until after school starts and all the hoopla dies down to shop for clothes. Overstocked items will be on sale then.
Buying very high quality underwear for growing children is a waste of money, since they will soon grow out of them and underwear is one thing most people won't buy or don't want second hand. Don't go too cheap though... underwear needs to be comfortable!
Buy socks all the same color. When a sock gets lost or wears out, you won't have one sock left that can't be worn with anything else. (If you notice that socks are wearing on the toe or heel, darn them. It's not so hard and it will extend the life of the sock.)
A good rule of thumb is to spend more money on the lower half of the body - pants and skirts - than the upper shirts and tops. Solid good quality color pants or skirts can be mixed or matched with less expensive tops. Jeans, if allowable, wear well and "go with" just about any shirt from t-shirts to button downs.
Most importantly, make lists and stick to the lists. You may have to revise them, but at least you won't be revising your budget to accommodate high back to school expenses.