BACK-TO-SCHOOL SHOPPING TIPS
With inflation at levels not seen in decades, parents are already anticipating that shopping for back-to-school supplies will cost more in 2023 than in previous years.
- $848.90 – The average amount U.S. households expected to spend on back-to-school items.
- $37.1 billion – For elementary through high school students, total back-to-school spending.
- The biggest spends were on electronics, clothing, and shoes respectively.
- $71 billion – Total spending for back-to-college in the U.S.
How to track spending
Before you buy, make a list of everything you need, from uniforms to backpacks to athletic equipment and band instrument rentals.
- Create a budget, or spending limit, for what you need (add in a little extra to give yourself some wiggle room).
- Sign up for a budgeting app or use a free online spreadsheet or a paper ledger to track expenses.
- When you make a purchase, save the receipt, and note the total in your app, spreadsheet or paper.
Shopping sales is a great way to save money. Before going out to a store or hitting ‘buy now’ on internet purchases, compare prices for a few minutes online. Here are some easy ways to compare prices:
- Use a tool such as Google Shopping to see the different prices stores sell the same item.
- Check out price-saving sites such as bradsdeals.com.
- Sign up for free online browser extensions such as honey, ibotta, price.com, or retailmenot.com.
More money-saving tips for back-to-school shopping
- Take an inventory of what you already have that can last another season.
- Wait for the sales. Typically, the later you buy, the better the bargains.
- You don’t have to buy every item on your list before school starts.
- Take advantage of sales tax holidays.
- Consider buying reconditioned items, such as laptops, if they include warranties.
- Check thrift stores and online marketplaces for gently used items.