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How to be smart about spending in the back-to-school season
The start of a new school year can be a tricky time for budget-conscious consumers.

School supplies may not be as costly as Christmas presents, but the price tags on cool new outfits or backpacks, as well as last-minute family adventures, can quickly add up. Extra purchases in August hurt bank accounts already hit hard by summer splurges, according to financial experts.

"Many of us give ourselves a little more latitude (financially and personally) during summer," U.S. News & World Report notes. "Back-to-school season is a good opportunity (even if you're not a parent or student) to revisit your finances and get on track for the rest of the year."

This month, families should check in with financial goals, the article reports. Parents of school-aged children can adjust budgets to reflect that kids will now need to pay for a lunch at school or pack a sandwich and also account for the fees associated with sports or other school activities.

If there is still a lot of shopping to do before school starts, parents can guide their young students to the stores offering the best deals.

CNN Money published a list of the best back-to-school deals on technology this week, and a second article from U.S. News & World Report shared five smartphone apps that offer great deals on school supplies.

The theme of the season should be keeping impulse buying in check, a piece of advice more and more Americans seem able to follow, as credit counselors told NPR recently. The article highlighted how people's spending habits, including their approach to school supplies, have changed since the Great Recession, celebrating those who are careful with their credit cards.

"According to the National Federation for Credit Counseling, only about one household in three now carries credit-card debt over from month to month. That's a drop from 2009, the peak of the recession, when 44 percent of households carried credit card debt," NPR reported.