Consumer Alert: Back to School and broke! How to save amid sky high inflation
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Today’s consumer alert is taking a look at parents’ pockets as kids head back to school. And for many, your pockets are empty. Back to school shopping always wallops your wallet. But this year is especially tough. Back to school items are on average 15 percent higher than a year ago. The numbers are shocking. According to the National Retail Federation, families planned to spend $864 on back to school shopping, $168 more than in 2019. But the numbers from Deloitte are even worse. 37 percent of parents they surveyed were spending $661 per child, that’s up 8 percent from last year.
And parents, you know the school supply lists are long. Pencils, paper, scissors, crayons and calculators all add up. Back to school shopping across the country is expected to top $37 billion, making this the second biggest shopping season of the year, second only to Christmas.
Take a look at the numbers from the retail analytics firm DataWeave, notebooks and folders are up 31 percent. Lunch boxes are up 14 percent. And backpacks have increased 12 percent.
But if you think that’s bad, prices of some of the name brands you love have skyrocketed. 3m Scotch tape is up 70 percent. The price of sharpies are up 55 percent. And that good ‘ole Elmers glue is up 30 percent.
For example, there are 34 items on my youngest child’s 5th grade school supply list. If I’d bought all the items at Walmart, the grand total would be $146.46. And I consistently bought the least expensive or most cost effective item.
So my best advice is just buy what you need right now. My kiddos are starting school with last year’s backpacks and lunch boxes. They’ll get new ones when they go on sale later this month. Thrift stores are great place for kids’ clothes because a growing kid wears them such a short time. You can find great deals. And if you’re like me, your kids need electronics. So I’ve installed the browser camel camel camel so I can track when prices fall on Amazon.