Consumer Alert: Back-to-school price hikes — here’s how to save

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Families estimate they’ll have to spend $890 on back-to-school items. And that’s an all-time high. The question is why. Are prices significantly higher or are families buying more stuff?

The answers are yes and yes. In surveys, a majority of families said they were either buying more stuff or more expensive stuff. But I’ve done some research and discovered many of the items on your kid’s school supply list are much higher than last year.

Overall, the cost of school supplies is up 5.4 percent over 2022, which is more than overall inflation. And CNET Money found that 43 percent of consumers will use some sort of financing to pay for all those clothes, calculators and clipboards. Already, credit card debt stands at $1 trillion, an all-time high. And I found the view of inflation from inside your kids’ backpack is a scary picture indeed.

Here are some of the highest priced supplies:
• graph paper up 17.59%
• mechanical pencils up 15.57%
• highlighters up 13.27%
• folders up 12.63%
• index cards up 11.83%
• crayons up 11.74%

So, here’s Deanna’s Do List for ways to save.

• Buy only essentials now and the rest, like clothing, when stores hold more sales after Labor Day.
• Wait until fall sales in October to buy heavy winter coats.
• Review your credit card rewards to see which pays the most for back-to-school supplies.
• Stack your savings. For example, use your credit card reward money to shop online sales while using a cash back browser extension like CouponCabin which gives you cash back for shopping online.

Here’s another example. Remember I told you the price of highlighters is up 13 percent.  I just found four highlighters on sale at Walmart for $2.47. 

I also found a backpack for $6, as well as pocket folders for $0.15 and 24-count crayons for just a quarter.

So, I stack my savings when I shop sales online using a cash back browser extension and free money I got from my cash back credit card.  Here are some browser extensions that offer cash back for your online purchases: