August may be called the “dog days” of summer, but they are actually a training ground for parents to deal with the litany of costs that come with the upcoming school year. By now you should have seen your share of back-to-school commercials and heard about tax holidays and certain products.

While they may focus on new looks and being prepared for school, parents should also be vigilant. After all, Halloween, homecoming and Christmas holidays are right around the corner. So parents (especially divorced parents in Ohio who rely on child support) must be cautious. A recent ABC News.com article gives some helpful tips.

Start with a budget –  It is prudent to start your shopping with a comprehensive list, and before going to the mall, take some time to find out what must be purchased and what can be obtained for free (through back to school packets). This can help to prevent overspending through stream of consciousness shopping.

Avoid payday loans – It may seem obvious, but payday loans should be avoided at all costs. Indeed, the convenience of such a bridge loan is attractive, but the relative interest that comes with them is not worth it.

Avoid credit when cash will do – In another important budgeting tip, avoid using credit cards, which will have you are paying off back-to-school items when you are shopping for Christmas gifts.

Know your order – The belief that child support covers school supplies is often misplaced. If they are covered, the order will specifically say so. If it does not, a non-custodial parent is not obligated to pay for school supplies.

Source: ABC News.com , Seven mistakes back to school shoppers make, August 11, 2013