Ah, the exhilaration of throwing elbows with other parents as you fight your way through the crowded aisles at Staples during the back-to-school rush. But damn the register reality check: The cost of new markers, glue sticks and construction paper can seriously add up. Here, seven ways to cut dollars (without cutting joy from your kids’ lives).

RELATED: 9 Helpful Back-to-School Quotes So Your Kids Have the Best Year Ever

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Shop Your Kids’ Backpacks First

It’s tempting to make life easy and just shell out for brand-new markers and crayons. But before you hit the mall, it’s worth taking a peek inside the backpacks (and craft drawers) to see what you can salvage from last year. $8 saved. (Go you.)

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Then, Download Apps for Special Discounts

Stores like Target and Staples both offer apps that allow you to cash in on coupons simply by scanning the barcode in the store. (Note that you have to have the app in order to score the deal.) Bonus points if you do a quick search for big-ticket items (say, a TI calculator for your son’s middle school algebra class) before you leave home.

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Sign Up for E-Newsletters (or Social Media Accounts) for Brands You Love

This goes hand in hand with downloading the apps: The best savings go to the loyal customers who subscribe to—or follow—brands to receive special updates first.

RELATED: 6 Ways to Score Shopping Deals When You Left All Your Coupons at Home

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Don’t Forget About Price Matching

As long as it’s a brand they carry, stores like Best Buy or Walmart offer price matching on items that are available at a similar store. For example, you found a backpack your kid had to have, but the cost is steep everywhere but Amazon. Present the online price (and proof that it’s the exact same item) to the store associate and chances are they’ll match the rate.

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Hit Up the Dollar Store

Yes, the glue sticks may be off-brand. But hell, a glue stick is a glue stick.

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And Don’t Discount the Perks of Buying in Bulk

This back-to-school savings strategy all depends on the number of kids you’re shopping for in your household. (Although you could always consider teaming up with other families to split the cost.) For example, a 100-pack of pencils for $8 may sound absurd…until you’re getting 24 for $2.

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Enlist Your Kids to Help You Save

It never hurts to start your kids early on budgeting 101. Explain to your son or daughter that they have X amount of dollars to spend on back-to-school clothing at X store (say, the Gap). Help them outline the essentials they’ll need (jeans, a sweater for when the weather gets cool) and help them Google for a coupon or two. Then, give them the power to shop and figure out how to maximize the cash. Of course you’ll have final approval on purchases, but who knows what kinds of creative solutions they’ll come up with to save.

RELATED: The Best Money Lesson to Teach Your Kids at Every Age

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