As the summer winds down and the school year gets underway, grabbing necessities for the start of the session is proving to be cost-challenging as inflation continues to impact the wallets of American consumers
The National Retail Federation this summer said parents are expecting to spend roughly $864 on items for students in elementary through high school, which can include school supplies and higher-ticket items like clothing and electronics. That's nearly $170 higher than 2019 levels. For college students, shoppers expect to spend about $1,199 on necessities, which can also include dorm or apartment furnishings, which is on pace with last year's $1,200 average.
If students and families are looking for ways to cut costs, consider reusing supplies from previous years or buying used and refurbished goods, smart shopping expert Trae Bodge told Cheddar News.
"Buying used is one of my favorite ways to save, particularly on clothing and tech. You can find gently used clothing on sites like ThredUp and Kidizen as well as in local consignment shops, and you can sell your intact items to these places as well," she said.
When it comes to used and refurbished tech goods, Bodge said retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, eBay, and Amazon are all ideal options. "Make sure, however, that the item you are buying is certified and comes with a warranty in the event something goes wrong," she added.
Shoppers can also utilize major coupon sites to find deals, said Bodge. Sites like Slickdeals.net have entire sections dedicated to back-to-school savings.
With college students expected to spend more than $1,000 on back-to-school supplies, Bodge said an easy way to save money is to just wait until the semester is underway.
"Inevitably there will be unexpected things that you need and things you thought you needed but don't. The other good thing about waiting is that some retailers will be offering clearance sales on school-related items. You can also look at school message boards for listings. Other students may have overbought and will be looking to offload those extra items at bargain prices," Bodge said.