So often we have an "all or nothing" mentality. I think, I need gas, so instead of just putting in the $15 I have in my pocket right now, I think I need to fill the tank and put it on my overloaded credit card. (Then later when I get the urge to buy a soda at a convenience store, I'll rationalize, "I've got the cash in my pocket, so I can afford it.") You don't need to buy your children a year's worth of clothes or supplies the week before school. I know there are a lot of good buy's just before school, but if you have to charge them on a high interest credit card, they are no longer good deals.

4. Try to make do with what you already have. If the kids still have scissors from last year, reuse them. That goes for rulers, pencil boxes and other supplies, too. Go ahead and buy new crayons (they cost 20 cents a box here in "Back to School" sales), folders and pencils. That way your children feel like they are getting something new. If last year's backpack is still good -- reuse it. If your child wants something different, then use glue or fusible web and applique it with some fun trims and decorations. If they still insist they need a new backpack, let them spend their own money.

Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the authors of the Dining On A Dime Cookbook. Dining On A Dime will help you save money on groceries and get out of debt by cooking quick and simple homemade meals. For free tips & recipes visit