Back to School: Supply shopping on a budget

Many retailers have weekly deals whether in a printed advertisement or on a mobile app.
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 1:04 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Back-to-school shopping is right behind the holidays and birthdays when it comes to the amount of money parents spend on their kids.

The back-to-school bill is higher than ever before for parents this year due to inflation in almost every section of the market combined with a changing classroom learning environment.

“The cost of electronics has risen greatly, and they are now a more core component for back-to-school shopping and parents are having to spend a larger portion of their back-to-school budget on electronics particularly this year than any before,” Jack Caporal a Research Lead at Motley Fool Ascent said.

The changing learning environment has made electronics a more essential back to school item, but the more traditional items like pencils and notebooks are also still on class lists that appear to still be growing by the year.

“I think it’s a combination of both, supplies have gone up a little bit we do have for example folders that used to be 50 cents last year that are now 59 cents so for sure things have gone up in price, but I do think I heard guests say in the store the lists do feel a little bit longer each year.” Brittney Dimond, an Executive Service and Engagement Leader at Target, said.

Growing lists and more expensive items can feel overwhelming for parents, but with so much to buy comes plenty of opportunities to find discounts.

Most retailers do weekly ads and around this time of year, school supplies will be featured items. Some also have mobile apps that offer savings you might not find in a printed ad.

“My first and most straightforward piece of advice would be to shop around and look for discounts, look off brand or go generic,” Caporal said.

“My second piece of advice would be to have a plan and avoid impulse buys. You should really stick to your class list or your school list and it’s not necessarily a time to splurge even if it’s something your kid really wants.

With school less than a week away there is still an opportunity to compare discounts between stores and find the one that is best for your family, and also keep a little bit of extra money in your pocket.