It’s back-to-school marathon shopping time again, with about half of all parents heading to stores right about now. Indeed, the National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates that the average family will spend approximately $688.62 this season and, all told, 2012 K-12 spending will hit the $30.3 billion mark. Include college shopping and the figure tops $84 billion. No wonder, then, that school shopping sales are rivaled only by Christmas.

And while you’re out there, shop with Box Tops for Education in mind: those clippable coupons are on hundreds of products and doing a world of good. In fact, since 1996, the program has donated over $475 million to our nation’s schools. Just snip the coupons and pass them along to the school of your choice. This applies to online purchases, too, except that your box top will be sent automatically. Each one is worth $.10. Ready, set, go.