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How to Save on School Supplies in the USA: Teachers' Tips and More

Many parents may be shocked by the rise in the price of school supplies when they start preparing their children for school. Edition ABC7Chicago explained the reason, and suggested several solutions for families looking to save money.

Photo: Shutterstock

Spending on school supplies will hit a record $ 37,1 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. For many families, the increase in the cost of school supplies is adding new levels of stress.

“I had to say many times:“ I think we have everything we need, ”said Christina Kotis. She watches prices as she fills the cart with school supplies and clothes.

“A whole bunch of shirts,” she said.

This is all for her three children.

“I was sad because of COVID-19, I didn’t see my friends. This year I am going to school again, ”said one of the Kotis children.

But everything has a price.

“Overall, I think prices have gone up,” said Kotis. And she's right.

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Consumer goods experts said prices for backpacks, clothing and school supplies are rising. In fact, prices for nearly all consumer goods are up more than 5% from last year, according to the latest inflation data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The customer, Michelle Miralda, goes straight to the sales department to shop for her children.

“I will not go to the regular section, the prices are not what they were before,” she said.

Bankrate.com's Ted Rossman explains the rise in prices.

“Prices are rising for a variety of reasons, due to supply chain disruptions and higher costs. Thus, higher transportation costs, higher production costs are costs that enterprises impose on their employees. These are all indications of increased price pressure on school and other goods, ”said Rossman.

Despite some reports of a shortage of school supplies, a team of journalists went to several stores and found that there were many different items on most of the shelves. However, some of them were starting to look a little empty, so you might not want to wait until the last minute to buy what you really need.

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The National Retail Federation said families are expected to spend an average of $ 848 per primary or high school student this year, nearly $ 60 more than last year. College students spend an average of $ 1, an increase of $ 200.

“This is a good reminder to parents that you may not need to buy everything new. Think about what you already have at home, or try to find products at a low price or for free, ”Rossman said. - Your friends or neighbors could happily share unused items if you used them carefully. Pack your bags for college students, maybe you know someone with an old couch, microwave oven, or desk. "

You can also check out second-hand stores and online classifieds, for example on the Facebook Marketplace. On the electronics and tech front, you can save money by buying refurbished items at places like Apple Store and WalMart. You also don't have to buy everything at once.

“You really don't need all of this on the first day. Many of these items will benefit from even greater discounts after Labor Day and after the first day of school, ”added Rossman. "Find out what you need right now, and then buy everything else with discounts."

In addition, it is worth noting that scammers become active at this time of the year. The Better Business Bureau said fake websites could target buyers. You can pay and never receive items. You should only shop from retailers you know and trust and be skeptical about prices that seem too low to you. Use a credit card if you might need to dispute a charge.

How to save

The increase in costs may be due to the need to purchase additional materials due to the pandemic. For example, face masks, hand sanitizers, personal packets of wipes, and sanitizing wipes can be considered a must for students choosing full-time education this school year. Yahoo!.

Since teachers shop for all of their students and classes every year, here are some tips to help you save money, straight from the experts.

Kyle Bose, a personal finance instructor at Kettering Fairmont in Kettering, Ohio, has many tips for those looking to save on school supplies.

First, Bose suggests going beyond the regular shopping cycle to find discounts on school supplies. “Even non-traditional places like Walgreens, CVS, etc. have incredible deals, and sometimes they don't use them because most people instead follow the big retailers,” he said.

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Bose also recommends giving preference to generic or private label brands over name brands to save money.

“Don't fall prey to big name brands, especially when it comes to basic school supplies,” he said. "Most of the private label consumables are manufactured in the same factory, with the same or better quality or standards as well-known brands."

Bose gave another piece of advice to college students: “Take advantage of student discounts,” he said. "Once you get your college student ID card, you can use it in hundreds of stores for 10% -20% discounts."

Bose also recommends looking at what you can get from college first before spending money on things like furniture.

“Most dorms don't need a ton of furniture to make a space livable,” he said. - You will be surprised what people will give up when they help others. Find parents whose kids may be graduating from college or friends moving out of the dorm and see if they have furniture they don't need. This saves you the trouble of buying new furniture. "

Matt Matheson, teacher, principal and owner of Family Money School, shares Bose's view that unknown brands are the best choice.

“When it comes to shopping in front of school, it's easy to spend a ton of money buying big names,” Matheson said. - Whether it's the latest $ 300 jeans or $ 50 pencil crayons, don't fall into the brand frenzy. This will leave a huge hole in your wallet. "

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“Opt for generic products or store brands instead, especially when it comes to new clothes. And no one will see the difference. If your child insists on brand names, after you've explained everything, head to the thrift store and look for great deals. There are certain stores that specialize in high-end brands and you are bound to find great deals, ”he says.

Amanda Ramkissun, a high school math teacher and author of The Frugal Mom Guide, recommends doing something different to save on school supplies - buying houses.

“I am a strong advocate of reusing what you already have,” she said. - No need to spend hundreds of dollars on what you already have at home. If you look around your home, I'm pretty sure you'll find pens, pencils, markers, one-page or two-page notebooks, stickers, and more. Why not use them instead of buying new ones? You will be surprised how much you can save by shopping at home. "

Natalie Grant, a mother, veteran teacher and co-founder of We the Parents, said she knew all too well about the unexpected burden of buying school supplies.

“You can save a lot on school supplies while keeping your kids busy during the holidays,” Grant said. - How? One word: upcycling. There are tons of incredible online upcycling tutorials that you and your kids can follow at home. Get creative with converting old or used backpacks, pencil cases, lunch boxes and many more must-haves. And before you roll your eyes, do a Pinterest search first. Soon, your college kid will be ready to work in modern fashion looks for almost any style. ”

“This year we bought a used version of the legendary, cool and usually very expensive backpack for my daughter. Due to the small hole, the price was crazy. We bought a few pieces and then had a great day creating something great that she now loves. And all this for a fraction of the regular price. Double victory, ”she notes.

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