PORTLAND The cost of back-to-school supplies has gone up an average of 7 percent across the nation this year, leaving some parents to get creative in order to save money.

Top shoppers told KGW there is a strategy to being a savvy shopper. They said Goodwill stores are a great place to start -- especially if you have patience and are able to make return visits.

A large majority of donations at Goodwill and other charity stores arrive at the end of the week, which means they make it onto the shelves on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.

Every Sunday we feature the tag of the week. The color changes, so one-fourth of the clothes here get cut to half price, added Goodwill public relations manager Dale Emanuel.

Goodwill officials said they get lots of gently used school supplies, including backpacks, reference books, computers and printers.

They also get quite a bit of new merchandise in stock, but the prices are a fraction of what consumers would pay elsewhere.

Goodwill has everything you could possibly need at prices that you wouldn't be able to pay anywhere else, said shopper Lara Vesta.

The store is also a popular place for college students trying to furnish their dorm rooms or campus apartments with a small budget.

Goodwill officials noted that people who shop at their stores are also helping the community. They explained that 95 cents of every dollar goes into programs that help people with barriers find employment in Northwest Oregon and Southwest Washington.

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