“Everything’s gotten more expensive. We need the extra income because grocery bills have doubled and I basically have my own little army.”
A survey in June revealed that 58% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck thanks to inflation.
Parents know back-to-school costs are high. Man, I loved shopping for anything back-to-school! New clothes, new uniforms, new shoes, new supplies, etc. Not to mention more food for lunches. Money for field trips, extra-curricular activities, tuition, etc.
The National Retail Federation believes shoppers will spend around $37 billion this season.
That is the same number as last year.
However, inflation is at 9.1%, which is a 40-year high. Are households going to spend $864? No. One poll found only 7% want to spend more than $500, down from 25% last year.
Many middle-income shoppers such as Sam Waldorf, a 33-year-old mother of four in Fort Campbell, Tennessee, have lived comfortably throughout the pandemic. But her husband’s Army salary of about $80,000 doesn’t go as far now. Waldorf said she plans to get a part-time job in retail to help cover the higher costs of sending her kids to school this year.
“Everything’s gotten more expensive,” she said. “We need the extra income because grocery bills have doubled and I basically have my own little army.”
Even with a rotation of hand-me-downs and new shoes gifted by family members for the school year, Waldorf’s budget is stretched thin. She plans to spend $200 total, down sharply from the $800 she recalls spending last year.
Some companies and retailers try to help parents:
Back-to-school promotions are rolling out sooner than in years past, with more in bundles like “buy one get one 50% off,” which encourages shoppers to buy multiple items, said Nikki Baird, vice president of strategy at retail-technology company Aptos.
Walmart priced 100 school supplies at under $1, including a 24-pack of Crayola crayons, child-safe scissors and spiral notebooks. Target raised its student discount for loyalty program members to 20% from 15% last year. The Container Store is offering a 15% discount to parents and students who sign up for its loyalty program and 25% off orders over $200 for existing members. Dozens of school backpacks, including Adidas and Jansport, are currently 25% off at Kohl’s, which is also discounting Levi’s clothes by up to 40%.
Central Texas parents are going to back-to-school drives.
Other parents plan on reusing supplies from previous years:
“We are also looking into upcycling, so any of our supplies from last year like the plastic folders if they can be used again we are going to use them again,” she [mother Sue Sobon] said, “We are going to use bookbags again there is no reason why they have to be replaced just because it’s a new school year they all are completely functional and good to go.”
Sobon is even taking advantage of her oldest son’s supplies, who no longer need them after graduating college.
“He left a whole bunch of school supplies for us that we are going re-use,” She said, “And feel like if they have a purpose we’re just going to use them.”
Parents put their children first. This requires cuts in other categories to ensure their children have everything they need and most want for school.
The Los Angeles Times reported that credit-card companies noticed that more people had dropped name brands or more expensive to save money.
In Joe Biden’s America, back-to-school will cost parents "a pretty penny" this year.
Everything from lunch meat to sports equipment to clothes will be "A LOT more expensive." pic.twitter.com/kINWgUj62Z
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) July 26, 2022
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