As the school shopping season kicks off, families are struggling with higher prices on everything from backpacks to pencils, thanks to rising inflation.
Situation: More than half of families plan to cut back on groceries for school this year as a result of rising inflation, according to a national survey by JLL, a real estate and retail management company.
- Parents with budgets significantly affected by inflation plan to spend 15% less on average.
- A third of parents who say their budgets will not be affected by inflation say they plan to spend 31.5% more than in 2021.
Between the lines: The price of school supplies is affected by high energy prices, higher labor and transportation costs, and supply chain disruptions, said Patrick Penfield, a professor of supply chain practice at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management.
What they say: “Parents will experience sticker shock on clothes, sneakers and school supplies this year,” Penfield said. “Expect to see ‘shrinkage’ with tissues, pencils, paper, markers and many of your other school supplies.”
- “As inflation affects the overall price of goods and services, shopping for school this year may feel more like shopping for the holidays,” Liz Ewing, financial director of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, told TNZT.
The big picture: According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, back-to-school spending is still expected to match last year’s record $37 billion, with families planning to spend an average of $864 on school supplies, about $15 more. than last year.
- School spending has risen dramatically since the pandemic with the shift from virtual and hybrid learning, NRF said.
- Families are expected to spend an average of $168 more than on necessities in 2019 before the pandemic, NRF said.
- Deloitte’s 2022 Back-to-School Survey shows that spending has increased by 27% compared to 2019, with clothing and accessories being the largest increase.
Looking back: Last year, millions of families received help preparing for the school year with the Child Tax Rebate, which expired in December.
Tips to save on school supplies
A basket of about a dozen delivery items saw a price increase of nearly 15% this year compared to the previous school year, according to retail analytics firm DataWeave, the The New Zealand Times reports.
Meanwhile, more parents want to save this year with nearly 60% of shoppers saying they will look for deals and coupons, including free shipping, according to JLL’s research.
Here are a few ways to beat inflation:
Student Discounts and Rewards Programs
Target and Bed Bath & Beyond both have a special discount for students for a limited time.
- The two retailers also both have free loyalty programs — Target Circle and Welcome Rewards — that offer savings for all shoppers.
- Kohl’s, Macy’s, JCPenney, Old Navy and other retailers also have free rewards programs to monetize future purchases.
What they say: “If there’s a retailer you plan to shop with for most of your back-to-school needs, make sure you’re part of the rewards program,” Kristin McGrath, a savings expert at RetailMeNot, told me. to TNZT.
- “You can’t change the price tag, but you can earn rewards to cover the cost.”
Tax holidays offer VAT benefits
The first weekend of August is the largest for duty-free shopping nationwide with a dozen states having tax holidays.
Store clearance and overstock sales
Many retailers have excess stock which they try to unload, which makes it possible to save by shopping the clearing rack.
Our Thought Bubble: An TNZT reporter visited three Walmart stores in South Florida and multiple locations of Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and JCPenney and found a large amount of clearance.
Labor Day sale
If you can wait wait until Labor Day to shop for clothes, said RetailMeNot’s McGrath.
- The holiday weekend is expected to be “a great time to make those bulk wardrobe upgrade purchases,” McGrath said.
Go deeper: A dozen states have duty-free school stores this weekend