Inflation affects the cost of back-to-school supplies


As students grab their backpacks full of school supplies and head back to class, inflation continues to affect family budgets and the cost of basic school supplies.

Katherine Bullen, senior director of the National Retail Federation (NFR), says families can expect to spend hundreds of dollars.

“Families with kids in elementary through high school expect to spend about $684 on average, about $15 more than last year,” Bullen said.

This year, the NFR estimates that shoppers in the United States will spend $36.9 billion on back-to-school supplies, up from $37.1 billion last year.

Some supplies have seen a bigger price increase than others. The price of 3M brand tape is up 69% this year compared to 2021. Two essential school supplies, Sharpies and Elmer’s Glue, are up 55% and 30% this school year, according to Klover CEO Brian Mandelbaum, a consumer data company.

Clothes for the new school year also cost families more than last year. Mandelbaum says the cost of a JanSport backpack is 2% higher, Nike shoes jumped 12%, while Hanes underwear rose 6.4%.

One item not affected by inflation is Crayola crayons. Mandelbaum says prices for Crayola crayons have fallen year over year.

In a back-to-school survey conducted by Deloitte, 37% of shoppers said they expected to spend more on school supplies. Meanwhile, 77% of shoppers say they will switch brands if prices are too high.

Despite higher inflation, experts say there are still ways to save.

“The best way to do this is to budget, but also whenever you go out shopping, be prepared before you even go. Look at different retailers and see what items you need and where you can find them. the cheapest,” Sarah Wetzel with the Better Business Bureau said.

Wetzel also says to ask stores if they offer a student discount.

“Sometimes you just have to offer your student ID or if you have an email address with an edu, they’ll give you that student discount,” Wetzel says.

The Better Business Bureau also recommends shoppers look for big-ticket items, take advantage of sales and duty-free weekends, and consider buying in bulk.

If you want to save on last-minute supplies, Columbia Powerhouse Community Development is hosting a Back-to-School Party Friday from 2-6 p.m.

Children who attend the event can get free school supplies, haircuts and health checks.

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