Back to school shopping, avoid breaking the bank

Back to school shopping, avoid breaking the bank
Published: Aug. 23, 2022 at 10:35 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2022 at 12:07 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The family budget always takes a hit this time of year as kids head back to school. But this year, school supplies are even more expensive and it is putting parents in a tough position – many waiting until the last minute to shop.

Read: Lansing School District’s first female principal dies at 92

With school back in session in less than a week, some parents have already spent more this year on school supplies compared to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As inflation continues to raise prices – 38% of parents say they are moving money around and cutting corners in certain areas to afford school shopping.

Financial Wellbeing Program Manager at Lake Trust Credit Union, Justin Haun, said the community buy and sell sites are helping a lot of families.

“Ultimately, can you reuse anything? So once again taking a look at your current inventory – do the kids need a new backpack or is the backpack from last year still in really good shape,” said Haun.

Cassie Williams is the mother of 2 small children – only one is school-aged.

“It’s been a lot more expensive shopping for school supplies and honestly the prices have been all over the map in a way that feels kind of different,” said Williams.

Williams has recent changes in her employment and income level. That changes the way she shops for school this year.

“The amount of clothing we bought like rather than as we did last year try to buy for the entire year and kind of plan ahead. This year we’re just buying what we need for the first season – the fall season,” said Williams.

And in the winter, she will go through the clothing to see what still its and what needs replacing.

Veronica Gonzalez has a high school student. She said online shopping gives her more bang for her buck and she doesn’t have to restock the school supplies as fast – it’s like a one-stop shop.

“Definitely the school supplies – you get in bulk. If you go in-person it depends on which store you go to you have to get what you need from each store. And you know, online is better – it’s just a better option,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez also hosts back-to-school events to help herself and others in the community.

Tips to Save on Back-to-School Shopping
Wait until the last minute when sales are better
Use coupons and cash-back offers on tax-exempt items
Compare prices - price match
Get your kids involved

“It’s really a wonderful opportunity to start to teach your kids about budgeting. So, the first thing you want to do is just have them be part of the conversation. Talk to the kids about what’s most important to them – is it a new backpack this year, is it a new pair of sneakers,” said Haun.

“How we speak to our son about school shopping like not hyping it up or getting excited about it kind of trying to have more conversations about buying things you need versus just things you want,” said Williams.

Total back-to-school spending is expected to match 2021′s record high of $37 billion. K-12 parents plan to spend an average of $864 on school items – that’s approximately $15 more than last year.


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