CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s the second biggest shopping season of the year – back-to-school shopping, when American consumers will spend some $30 billion.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker shows you that, this year, retailers are offering some of the hottest and most creative discounts ever.

The list of back to school supplies Patricia Edmonson has to buy for her three children is long, so she’s drawn to the special promotion at Wal-Mart, where more than 100 different back-to-school items are on sale for 88 cents each.

Edmonson said it’s “a good attraction, because you can save and budget. It’s kind of friendly for your wallet.”

Wal-Mart is among the many retailers posting wallet-friendly prices to attract shoppers.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average family will spend about $688 this back-to-school season, and the offers are more creative than ever before.

At Staples, you can bring in an old binder, and get a $2 discount on a new one.

Staples manager Kevin McKeon said, “I will take your binder or your 10 binders, place them in this recycle bin, which we will send back to the warehouse for that purpose, for them to be recycled, and not to be put in a landfill.”

Zoe Brown planned to cash in on that offer.

“I think I have somewhere between 12 and 18 (binders),” she said. “I think it’s really nice, because as expensive as some school supplies are, it’s really nice to be able to get rid of the old supplies, get them out of your house, and then get money for them instead.”

Back-to-school shopping can even help you save money on gas at Kmart. For every $50 you spend at Kmart, you get 10 cents off per gallon on gas at Speedway, up to a maximum of 30 cents per gallon in savings.

Kmart manager Olu Balogun said, “We know the economy is really bad right now, you know? And they only way we can help the customers is to make sure we give them some kind of discount.”

And, during the month of August, kids in kindergarten through 6th grade get free haircuts at J.C. Penney.

“It’s helping a lot,” said shopper Amy Mosley. “Times are really hard, and financially we have problem after problem. It just doesn’t let up, and free haircuts are wonderful.”

This is also a good time to buy a computer. Experts expect to find the lowest prices on laptops around mid-August.

You can also buy selected Dell PCs and get a free Xbox 360. Students who buy an Apple laptop can get a $100 gift card to use for apps, books, music or movies.

Dorothy Tucker