Try these tips to save!

Back-to-school shopping is already in full-swing as many children will return to the classroom very soon, if not already. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend a record amount on school supplies this year. As many parents are already feeling the squeeze with higher everything, here are a few tips on how to save.

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So, just what number does the National Retail Federation attribute to back-to-school spending this year? Well, according to the NRF, on average, parents are spending more than $890 per child on back-to-school purchases, that include desk supplies, clothes, electronics, and more. That number translates into $41.5 billion this year, which is a 12% increase on what consumers spent last year at this time.


“It’s a tough time of year for families that are struggling just to do the basics already for the kids,” said Paul Gottbraith, the president of Northern Kentucky Harvest, in an interview with

He continued saying that, “A lot of our folks are people whose rent has been raised several hundred dollars in some cases and they don’t have the bandwidth to accommodate that, you know? So they are struggling with that.”

Although Northern Kentucky Harvest is just one of many organizations across the country that provides school supplies to those in need, the need is more than many of these organizations can provide.

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According to a comparison analysis by, here are a few of the essential school items and how much they have increased this year.

  • Graph Paper – 18%
  • Mechanical Pencils – 16%
  • Folders – 13%
  • Highlighters – 13%
  • Index Cards – 12%
  • Crayons – 12%
  • Composition Books – 9%
  • Rulers – 8%
  • Scientific Calculators – 6%
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So, just what can parents do to ensure that they get what their children need for the 2023-2024 school year without breaking the bank? Well, below are a few tips according to the financial experts from, that can potentially help.

  • Shop at discount stores or by off-brand products. You don’t have to buy everything at the big stores. Stores like Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, and other discount stores have what you need and for a whole lot less.
  • Plan ahead. Make a list of essential tools and supplies and be on the lookout for sales. Don’t spend on impulse purchases. “Be on the lookout for major sales events,” Mark Rose, senior director of retail at TransUnion, told CBS MoneyWatch.
  • Place a bulk order. If you have multiple children with the same needs, this will unquestionably help you save money. Want to stretch your dollar even further? Ask another parent or friend to go-in with you on your bulk order. Per Pattern data expert, Dallin Hatch, this will save you money. 
  • Ask for a price adjustment. “Keep an eye out for sales that come after you’ve shopped, and go back and ask for a price adjustment for up to a week or two after purchase,” Rose of TransUnion said.
  • Buy secondhand. A Morning Consult survey shows twice as many parents said they’ll buy used home goods and school supplies this year compared with last. Take it a step further, and if you have to purchase your child’s books, be on the look out for the same versions that are gently used. You can find these books online at, Half Price Books, or just simply do a Google-search. The books will work just as well, have the same information, and cost much less.
Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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