Customers shop for school supplies at a Target store in Colma, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
As parents know all too well, it’s hard to hold back when it comes to children.
Despite more households living paycheck to paycheck, this year’s total back-to-school spending is expected to reach last year’s record high of $37 billion, according to the National Retail Federation. The NRF found that families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school supplies, up $168 from 2019.
“Families view school and college supplies as an essential category,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
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A separate report by Deloitte found that 37% of parents could spend even more this year — up to $661 per child.
And yet, according to LendingTree, 75% of parents insist on footing the bill, up 12% from last year.
“This spending is already taking a huge financial toll on American households, who are grappling with the highest levels of inflation in more than 40 years,” said Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst at Bankrate.
Families are thin
According to a new Bankrate.com survey of more than 2,400 adults, nearly a third of households said back-to-school shopping would strain their budgets, with middle-income families feeling particularly hard hit.
More than a third, or 37 percent, of parents with school-age children said inflation has prevented them from making school-to-school purchases, and nearly half said they buy credit for their children, another study found credit karma .
Bankrate also found that 41% of consumers will change the way they shop for the coming school year, with most looking for strategies to save money.
How to save money when shopping at school
Usually only buy what you need, advises Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com.
Students may need to start the school year with notebooks, binders, paper, pens and pencils, but other purchases such as a new backpack or lunch box may be put off until they go on sale.
Unless you need a new laptop or headphones right away, Ramhold recommends waiting until Labor Day or Black Friday, when electronics discounts are higher.
These expenditures place a heavy economic burden on American households.
Senior Industry Analyst at Bankrate
A price tracking browser extension like CamelCamelCamel or Keepa can help you keep track of price changes and alert you when the price drops.
In addition to getting the best price, you can also benefit from VAT exemptions, credit card rewards or cash back bonuses, said Beverly Herzog, consumer finance analyst for US News & World Report.
If you qualify, Herzog can apply for a new card with a sign-up bonus or offer a 0% introductory interest rate for 12 to 21 months and then pay it off over the course of the year with no interest cost. also recommends.
“It’s a better win if you use a little bit of strategy,” she said.
Then use a cash back site like CouponCabin.com to make money off online purchases, including school supplies from Target, Walmart, and Macy’s.
Rossman recommends stacking discounts, such as combining credit card rewards with shopping coupons and online shopping portals. “It represents three ways to save on a single purchase.”
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