THE BLOG
08/10/2012 03:47 pm ET Updated Oct 10, 2012

How to Ease the Stress and Money of Back-to-School

A new school year is beginning, and while kids are heading back to reading, writing and arithmetic, parents are stressing about time and money. Coupons.com conducted a survey along with Harris Interactive* to find out what concerns parents the most as their kids return to school.

Here are some insights:

Shopping and preparing for school lunches stresses out 50 percent of moms. The good news is there are shortcuts you can take. For example, did you know you can freeze peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Make a week's worth on Sunday.

Parents like convenience -- 56 percent choose pre-made items and snacks.

Fewer than 50 percent of parents make lunches for their children more than three times a week. However, dads are helping reverse that trend. Men are more likely than women to regularly pack lunch for their kids.

Nearly 41 percent of moms won't buy school supplies if they're not on sale or if they don't have a coupon. For a one-stop shop with guaranteed low prices, gather all back-to-school ads that come in the mail then shop at a store with price matching.

Here are some other tips to remember as you prepare your family for back to school:

  • Skip pricey ice packs and freeze a juice box or water bottle instead. It saves room and will thaw by lunch.
  • Make your own trail mix with pantry leftovers like cereal, raisins, pretzels, fruit snacks and a few candies as a treat.
  • Teacher knows best so if an item isn't on the required school supply list, your child likely doesn't need it.
  • Gather all the back-to-school ads that come in the mail, and then shop at a store that offers price matching to get one-stop shopping with guaranteed low prices.
  • Keep all your receipts and return anything kids haven't worn in the first month of the school year. If you live in a warmer climate, wait until later in the fall to find cheaper prices on jeans when most stores are clearing the shelves for holiday inventory.
  • One last tip: If you're like the majority of parents (83 percent to be exact), you're looking for bargains on school supplies. Try online. Use coupon codes for savings on top of sales, all from the convenience of your home.