Back-to-School Spending Hits Record $41.5 billion

By: James Flippin · August 08, 2023 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Costly Classrooms

The much-anticipated back-to-school season is in full swing, but all the excitement comes with an inflationary twist. As parents gear up for the 2023-2024 academic year, they’re feeling the sting of rising costs, especially when it comes to electronics.

The National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual survey suggests this has led to record-high spending with families dishing out an average of $890.07 for their kiddos, which is roughly $25 more than last year.

Crayons to Computers

As a whole, anticipated back-to-school spending is skyrocketing to a record $41.5 billion — a notable leap from last year’s $36.9 billion. And for or those heading to college, the projected numbers are more than double that figure at $94 billion, exceeding last year’s record by about $20 billion.

While sharpened pencils and vibrant Crayola crayons are evergreen must-haves, a significant driver behind this spending is an increased dependency on electronics. As per the NRF, a record 69% of families are investing in electronics, the highest in the survey’s history.

Savvy Tax Savings

According to Crayola’s survey of over 1,500 parents, 31% believe inflation will have a “very big” impact on their back-to-school shopping, while 29% reported the impact as “extremely big.”

Some states, including Florida and Iowa, are coming to the rescue with tax holidays this weekend. Meanwhile, other states like Texas and New Jersey have tax holidays further down the road. This means, for a brief moment in time, parents may have the opportunity to snatch up school essentials tax-free.

Going into this school year, inflation might be a back-to-school buzzkill, but it’s also a chance to teach students a real-world math lesson in budgeting.

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