Sussex County-Back to school undoubtedly means different things to different people. For the commuter it means a lot more traffic on the roads, for the kids it means the end of carefree summer days and for most parents it means spending quite a bit of money so that they can send their children off to school looking their best, dressed from head to toe in new clothes while carrying an expensive backpack loaded with enough school supplies to start their own stationary store. Because new clothes and copious amounts of school supplies can make children feel good about themselves as they start the new school year, parents will usually try and make sure that their kids have every thing that they want but this can often put a substantial financial burden on them. Whether a parent is sending their child off to their first day of kindergarten, high school, college or any grade in-between, back to school has become something of a monster which many of us have willingly helped to create. "From what I remember when I was at school the kids, these days seem to need so much more than I did in terms of supplies," said Marianne Nichols of Hardyston. "In terms of clothes, so far I really have not had too much pressure to buy certain brands or styles. But my daughter is going into middle school this year so I may have something completely different to say by next year." Retailers like Wal-Mart and Staples look to the back to school period as an opportunity to increase their sales. "Though our numbers are a little down on last year our back to school items account for about 30 percent of our weekly sales," said Lorenzo Garcia, co-manager of the Franklin Wal-Mart, where back-to-school supplies were put out on the shelves the day that the area schools let out for the summer. While every parents experience will differ, it seems that boys are easier to cater to than the girls especially as they get older. "I find that the boys get cheaper to buy for as they get older," said Patti Hoyt of Vernon, who has two sons and a daughter. "The boys get new clothes as they grow and they don't mind. "However, my daughter, who is going into middle school this year has to follow the fashion trends and Wal-Mart jeans are not good enough any more they have to be Gap Jeans, so that's when it starts to become expensive." Like many other parents Hoyt has the additional expense this year of her first son starting college. "My son needed a laptop for college and his books for just the first semester were almost $500 so between that and my other two kids things its been a very expensive back to school time for me," she said. For even those who refuse to allow their children to be slaves to fashion and trends, it can still be an expensive business as Teresa Ulrich of West Milford discovered. "I have been watching for sales and my purchases are not determined by fads," she said. "However, I still end up spending about $500 on back to school stuff for my three children and my oldest is only going into fourth grade."