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Americans Are Doing What It Takes To Cover Back-To-School Shopping

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With the sound of school bells rapidly approaching for many students across the US, an increasing number of families are planning for back-to-school shopping. At the same time, prices are on the rise, as evidenced by the June CPI, which showed a 9.1% increase on an annual basis.

According to research from the National Retail Federation, Americans are responding to rising prices by prioritizing their spending dollars. In this case, that means making sure school supplies are covered, even if it means cutting back elsewhere. Per the NRF’s back-to-school shopping survey, 12% of respondents have taken on additional debt, 14% opened new credit cards, 18% are working overtime or taking on more hours, and 38% reduced spending in other categories.

Sorting out Spending

Financial advisors note back-to-school shopping is similar to the holiday season in many ways. Each are annual events that involve significant outlays of cash. For that reason, it’s arguably especially important to write out a budget and follow it.

To that end, it’s potentially useful to know what others are planning to spend. According to, 45% of US parents will spend $200 or more per child this year. Last year, that number checked in at just 29%. Over a quarter of respondents said they’ll spend more than $300 on each child. Over half of those surveyed said they will opt for generic brands and reuse old supplies.

Community Cooperation and Carpools

Industry observers say there are certain categories that may offer discounts this fall, such as clothing, while organizing a group of parents and buying supplies in bulk also makes sense. Beyond that there are some other tips parents may find useful.

Local markets may offer pre-used items like backpacks and lunch boxes, which is a cheaper and more eco-friendly option. Some public libraries, houses of worship, and community centers also organize back-to-school drives. Finally, coordinating with your fellow parents to set up a carpool may be a worthwhile consideration, especially given high gas prices. Working in concert with other parents could save on cash, and precious time.

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James Flippin ABOUT James Flippin James Flippin is the son of a financial advisor who grew up hearing and learning about bond yields, interest rates, the stock market, and the ins and outs of Wall Street. After stints as a licensing and business broker for Marcus and Millichap in New York City, James moved into broadcasting and became a reporter and anchor. He covered crime, politics, finance, and tech at NBC News Radio while working part-time as a producer for SiriusXM. James graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics. He's also an accomplished podcaster with over 10-years of experience.

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