WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- It's only halfway through summer. But if you walk through any store, it looks like school is right around the corner.
"I know this may be madness to somebody, but I have to be prepared," says Trinidad Hernandez.
Back-To-School in July has caught on with cash-strapped parents and teachers like Hernandez. She saving big on classroom supplies.
"Twenty cent notebooks, when school starts they're $1.50," she says.
And it adds up.
"I wish I could just fill my cart with everything they need," Hernandez says.
She plans to spend $6,000 out of her own pocket on items her students cannot afford.
"So, I can't wait until September for my purchases," she says.
And retailers are trying to bulk up their bottom line during the traditionally slow summer months. They're getting the word out online and on TV.
"Retailers know that even though the recession is over, it's still fresh on the minds of American families," says National Retail Federation's Ellen Davis.
"I'm always out for a good bargain, so it's never too early to shop for anything," says parent Lilly Hernandez.
Retail experts don't believe shoppers will skimp on school purchases. But, they are looking for the best bargains.
NRF's Davis says, "You're going to see a lot of retailers talking about quality merchandise or being able to have an extended warranty on something, in addition to good prices."
So, stores and customers are playing it smart.
Many customers say value is their number one concern this year.
And, some of therm are getting even better bargains by seeking out coupons online before they ever make that trip to the store.