It s tough to think about back to school shopping when we re soaking in the only sunshine we ll see for a while here in the Northwest. But we can t put off the deed forever. And brace yourself, analysts say back to school shopping can be one of the most expensive times of the year for families, second only to Christmas. A new online tool is helping parents cut costs.

Jean Rothman, a Portland-area mother of two, says back-to-school shopping is a big financial burden for her. It could be up in the hundreds if you re getting the electronic supplies and the new backpacks and new lunchboxes and everything every year, Rothman said.

Instead of having to search for coupons, the website allows shoppers to instantly compare prices on items from jeans to calculators. Pretty much every category you can imagine where there s online shopping, we cover it, said Karl Quist, president of Quist said the company makes money through retail partnerships, which allows the site to remain free for shoppers.

According to Rothman, another benefit to the site is time savings. I don t like spending a lot of time shopping. The kids don t like shopping, she said.

The company claims shoppers using the site can save up to 20 percent on their purchases. With families expected to average $690 in back-to-school spending this year, that 20 percent means a savings of nearly $150.

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