School is (almost) back in session. That means fresh notebooks, new backpacks and outgrown sneakers that need replacing. It’s an exciting and expensive time of year.

Before the first bell even chimes many of us will have shelled out several hundred dollars per child. The National Retail Federation backs that up. Its annual survey finds parents with kids in K-12 plan to spend an average $673.57 for back-to-school necessities this year, up 9.6 percent from last year’s $630.36.

If that number seems excessive, you aren’t alone. That’s a big hit to the household budget. Join our live chat below to learn from fellow parents and personal finance experts on how they plan on making back-to-school affordable.

Post a question or offer your own tips and tricks in the comment box right below the image:

Update: Our live blog has ended! Leave your best advice in the comment section. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Live Blog Surviving Back-to-School Money Madness