MILLTOWN - It's that time of year when parents across the state scramble to check off school supply lists, and the costs can be staggering.

Schools say they are able to provide less of the needed supplies each year and the burden has fallen more on parents.

Jeff Kaplan runs the coupon website Lozo.com, which aims to make back-to-school shopping a little easier on the wallet.

Kaplan's advice to parents is to check circulars and coupon websites and shop around for the best deals.

Clearance aisles are another place to find bargains, Kaplan says.

Certain items, like backpacks and lunch boxes, should be considered an investment. "It's more of a purchase up front, save more to do it," Kaplan says. "But it pays off over the years."

Experts say not to forget loyalty and rewards programs, buying in bulk, and purchasing items on sale mid-year, all of which can add up to big savings.