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      Parents dig a little deeper this year to send kids to school

      Columbia (WACH)"With the return to school approaching quickly, parents are feeling the financial pinch when it comes to supplies. According to the 2011 Huntington Backpack Index, those supplies will cost about 25% more this year. The report says that the average supplies for elementary and middle school students will be $530.00, with high school nearly doubled at $1091.00.

      The increase is attributed to the pay to participate programs, including extra curricular sports and activities. Huntington Bank TMs George Mokrzan says that families are facing a double whammy of rising prices for household goods, along with the new expenses that used to be covered by the public sector.

      There are several tips that Huntington offers to help elevate the added costs, including:

      1. Getting supplies early
      2. Plan purchases using sales
      3. Visit used book stores and online auctions
      4. Create a budget, and stick to it.

      Another opportunity for parents to help combat the rising school costs is taking advantage of the tax free weekend which begins at midnight Friday morning. The South Carolina Department of Revenue offers this tax suspension each year during the first weekend of August, and includes many items that are deemed related to education, including items such as athletic equipment, clothing, books, and computers. Items that are non-exempt include cell phones, furniture, cookware, and cosmetics. A complete list to the exempt and non-exempt can be found HERE.

      We would like to know how much you have budgeted for this years return to school? Are there any tips that you can recommend to other parents? Leave us a comment here, or on our Facebook page.