With the start of school only weeks away, back-to-school trends and sales are heating up.

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According to a recent RetailMeNot.com survey, back-to-school spending this year will be down from 2014, with parents expected to spend $246 per child, a $17 decrease from last year.

"We did find that more than half of Americans believe that the cost of education has increased since they were in school. Of course you need to account for inflation, but I also feel like this has something to do with the fact that due to budget cuts in recent years, a lot of schools can't supply the same amount of supplies that they used to," said Trae Bodge, senior lifestyle editor at RetailMeNot.com.

As a result, parents are now responsible for a lot more school-related expenses, according to Bodge.

When do most parents plan to shop?

According to the survey, parents usually spend about two weeks shopping for back-to-school items. While back-to-school items usually hit the shelves in July, 34 percent of parents wait to shop, in hopes of catching fall sales.

Bodge said while there are some sales available on fall clothing now, parents will have to wait to find savings on most cooler-weather clothing including hoodies, light jackets and sweaters.

For warmer-weather clothing, like leggings, light jeans and button-ups that will take kids through late September or early October, parents might want to start shopping now since this is the time when they are usually heavily discounted, according to Bodge.

School supplies are also something most parents shouldn’t wait to purchase, according to Bodge. She said they are on sale now and will sell out quickly, so some items might be completely gone if parents wait too long.

As for back-to-school trends for the upcoming season, it's all about the movies.

Bodge said characters from hot summer movies like "Minions" and "The Lost World: Jurassic Park" are very popular. The upcoming "Star Wars" movie is also hot. Bodge said a lot of these items will sell out quickly, so if a child wants a special Minion backpack, it would be best for mom or dad to purchase it soon.

Are parents excited to send kids back to school?

The survey found that 90 percent of parents are excited to send their children back to school. In fact, 36 percent of parents said they are most looking forward to having extra time for themselves, and 23 percent reported being eager to return to a more routine budget.

“Back to school can be predictable,” Bodge said.

How can parents get the best bang for their buck?

Boget said parents should keep an eye out for back-to-school specials, which include  clothing, office supplies and small electronics.