GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For parents, getting kids ready to go back to school can be financially stressful.

According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record $41.5 billion dollars this year, which is up $5 billion from last year.

Financial experts say if you’re looking to save money while doing your back-to-school shopping, it’s a good idea to make a budget and stick to it — but it’s important not to be too restrictive with the items you buy.

“Budgeting is simpler when you put your financial goals in mind and you have a plan,” Chris Nemes, a partner at Nemes Rush Family Wealth Management, said. “So rather than looking at it from the standpoint of ‘I’m going to spend x amount of dollars for all of these categories,’ be it school, groceries or other items, start with what you’re working to save and work yourself back from there.”

Nemes told News 8 this strategy puts a “natural governor” on spending.

“It will help you save more for retirement, more for school goods, back-to-school items,” he said. “It’s especially expensive at the beginning of the year, so it’s important to have that in mind throughout the entire 12 months.”

Experts also say it’s a good idea to invest in quality school supplies that will last for several years, which will cut back on shopping expenses for the next school year.

You can also keep a better eye on your budgeting by using online tools like a personal finance tracker.