From new shoes and pencil cases to binders and backpacks, sending kids back-to-school in style can pinch pocketbooks. In fact, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, families with students in grades K-12 are expected to spend $548 on school gear this year and a startling $618 for those college-bound. The survey also revealed nearly nine in 10 Americans plan to make changes to their back-to-school plans this year to make their dollars go farther and work harder.  To help families make the most of their back-to-school budgets, Sharpie has partnered with personal finance expert and Yahoo! Finance Columnist Laura Rowley to show how a little creativity, combined with the right cost-cutting tools, can help families save.  “This year the buzz is all about the bargain,” said Rowley. “Moms are looking for ways to stretch their back-to-school budgets while still letting their kids show up with the latest trends. The good news is there are lots of easy, creative and inexpensive ways to ensure kids’ make the grade and moms save.”  Rowley adds, “While it’s important to save, kids won’t carry it or wear it if it’s not cool.  Unfortunately, it’s often those ‘designer’ versions that end up costing the most. This year Sharpie is showing how to take ordinary school gear and make it extraordinary. The result is savings for parents and one-of-a-kind, personalized school supplies kids will want to flaunt.” The student-friendly ideas are available on Sharpie’s new community website,  The site showcases the work of Sharpie fans and is the centerpiece of Sharpie’s new “Uncap What’s Inside” campaign encouraging people to get creative with Sharpie.  Fans are invited to submit images and videos of items they’ve designed, decorated or decked out using Sharpie markers. The site also offers how-to videos, new product demos (including a virtual test drive of various Sharpie pens and markers) and access to Sharpie’s other social media sites including the Sharpie blog, FacebookYouTube and Twitter profiles.  The Sharpie Squad is also helping families get creative and save this back-to-school season. Led by Rowley, the Squad is made up of savvy bloggers and creative artists.