SEATTLE -- With kids heading back to school in a few weeks, parents are getting a head start on shopping.
A survey by American Express shows parents will spend more this year than years past due to increasing use of tech devices. Parents are expected to spend an average of $1,151 this year compared with $1,094 in 2013 and $867 in 2012.
Families are now finding ways to cut back in other ways, many of them making thrift stores a destination.
Inside Value Village in Ballard, Desiree Smith and her 12-year old daughter Marie are hunting for back-to-school clothes. Even outside of class lessons, there's a science to their shopping.
The Smiths aren't just looking for good styles but prices that won't break the bank. It's why she heads to second-hand stores.
"This is just a reasonable choice; this is the only place I shop for her clothing," said Desiree Smith. "Kids grow so quick and to invest a tremendous amount of money in that is just ridiculous."
Thrift stores like Value Village and the Goodwill say they have been busy and it's only expected to get busier as they draw closer to first day of classes.
"We’ve had some hard times the past few years, and I think people are trying to stretch their dollar a little bit," said Bryant Carlson, a Value Village store supervisor.
Many of the department store ads are also boasting back to school deals, but a recent Value Village Shopping Survey found a third of shoppers said they're shopping more at thrift stores than they did three years ago, 56 percent try to pay full price as rarely as possible, and nearly 50 percent of people will go over their back to school budget.
So on this National Thrift Shop Day, celebrated on August 17, the Smiths are at Value Village. Several outfits, two board games, and a few toys later, they're ready for school with some money to spare.