Going back to school season is anxiety-provoking for students, and increasingly expensive for parents, especially since so many of them want to arm their kids with the latest and greatest new technology.  But you can save on back to school, if you know how to shop. Americans are expected to spend upwards of $600 per person this year on consumer electronics according to NPD Group, with mobile computers, smartphones and tablets making up the bulk of that spending. So how do you save?

Technology is out of date the moment you buy it so don’t pay a premium for the absolute latest and greatest when the previous model of something will suit you just fine. For instance, as Todd Haselton from Technobuffalo.com points out, you can get an iPhone 4S for free with a 2-year contract, versus the $200-$400 you’d pay for two models up: the iPhone 5S. The same is true for laptops, cameras and all sorts of electronic gadgets. Many stores like Best Buy and Radio Shack also take trade-ins so don’t forget to ask. Also don’t forget to check out refurbished electronics you could save yourself a bundle. Consumer Reports recommends this as a great way to save money. Also skip the extras, especially the extended warranties.

Shopping for high-tech gear can be fun and it doesn’t have to zap your budget!