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Mitigating Inflation: Tips for Back-to-School Shopping Savings

Back-to-school Shopping and Inflation

It’s that time of year again – back-to-school shopping season. Millions of students and parents are gearing up for the new academic year by stocking up on clothes, electronics, and school supplies.

However, this year’s shopping season may look a little different due to rising inflation rates. Let’s take a closer look at how inflation is affecting back-to-school shopping this year and what we can do to mitigate its impact.

Impact of Inflation

The cost of goods and services tends to increase over time due to inflation. This means that the prices of items we buy regularly are gradually rising as well.

Unfortunately, this year’s back-to-school shopping season is no exception.

The rising prices of goods and services due to inflation can make back-to-school shopping more expensive for parents.

This can have a significant impact on household budgets and can result in parents spending more money than they intended. The prices of basic school supplies like notebooks, pencils, and backpacks have all increased significantly.

Moreover, many families experienced financial difficulties due to the pandemic, which may have been worsened by COVID-19. Inflation could be inflicting a financial strain on these families, and back-to-school shopping might feel like an added burden.

Ways to Mitigate Inflation

If you’re a parent looking to save money while back-to-school shopping during inflation, several strategies can help you mitigate inflation’s impact. Below are some effective ways to help you cut costs and stay within your budget.

1. Look for Sales: Retailers usually offer discounts and promotions during the back-to-school season.

Check for promotions on items like school supplies, clothes, and electronics to get the most out of your budget. 2.

Switch to Cheaper Alternatives: If you can’t find sales on the items you need, consider switching to cheaper options. Economizing on cheaper alternatives for school supplies and clothing can lead to significant savings.

3. Purchase Store Brands: Some store brands are equivalent, if not better than the higher-priced alternatives.

Look for store brands that offer the same features at a lower price point. 4.

Shop at Discount Stores: Discount retailers usually offer products at lower prices than other retailers. Look for discount stores like Walmart or Target to get a greater bang for your buck.

5. Reuse Supplies: If your children’s old school supplies are still in good condition, there’s no need to replace them.

Reusing stationery, backpacks, and lunch boxes can save a considerable amount of money. 6.

Buy Less: Re-evaluate the amount you buy and whether everything you’re purchasing is essential. Buying fewer items can end up saving you a significant amount of money in the long run.

National Retail Federation’s Back-to-School Spending Report

According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) recent report, household spending on back-to-school items has increased compared to 2019, pre-pandemic, and 2020, during the height of the pandemic.

The average household spending on back-to-school items this year is expected to be $789, which is about $168 more than in 2020.

The NRF anticipates that parents will spend around $37.1 billion on school-related supplies this year, which equates to $848 per household.

However, while spending is higher than last year, it’s only slightly higher than 2021.

In 2020, parents spent an average of $721 per household on back-to-school shopping. This means that parents have become more cautious about spending as a consequence of the pandemic’s financial realities.


The back-to-school shopping season is currently in full swing, but rising inflation rates are causing concern among parents. And while the cost of school supplies is increasing, households are still expected to spend more this year.

However, parents can take advantage of numerous strategies, such as searching for less expensive alternatives and going to discount stores, to save money. As with most things, a solid budgetary plan, coupled with considerable expenditure, will make all the difference.

GOBankingRates Survey on Back-to-School Shopping Plans

A recent GOBankingRates survey found that many parents are becoming more creative in how they spend money on back-to-school supplies due to rising inflation. Over 70% of respondents mentioned that they were looking for sales, switching to cheaper alternatives or purchasing store brands.

Additionally, 40% of respondents said they were shopping more at discount stores to beat inflation, while 34% said they were reusing supplies from last year. Another strategy parents are using is buying fewer items.

Although these strategies can be effective, parents may benefit from additional recommendations for more long-term savings and planning.

Recommendations to Beat Inflation

Beat inflation by taking advantage of these additional strategies to help save money and stretch your dollar further. 1.

Shop for Secondhand Supplies: Consider purchasing gently used items when possible, such as backpacks or clothing. Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and Craigslist are places where parents can get secondhand deals.

Thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army can also offer discounted back-to-school items. 2.

Take Stock of Existing Supplies: Before heading out to buy supplies, look through your home for supplies that may still be in good condition and can be repurposed. For example, if you own a printer, consider printing out free online resources instead of purchasing workbooks.

3. Comparison Shop: Research online prices and in-store prices.

Several retailers may offer different prices for the same product. Ensure you compare prices to obtain the best deal on all your purchases.

4. Buy in Bulk: Costco, Sam’s Club, and other bulk retailers can offer considerable savings to parents who buy in bulk.

Also, bulk buying can save time and eliminate the need to visit several stores in search of a good deal. Be sure to compare prices and evaluate if a bulk membership is right for you.

Expert Recommendations for Back-to-School Shopping

Expert recommendations for back-to-school shopping build upon the survey’s results and offer more insight into how to save money during back-to-school shopping. 1.

Take Advantage of Sales and Coupons: Back-to-school shopping is when retailers offer up to significant discounts on numerous products. Taking advantage of the sales and coupons will help parents save money significantly.

Check weekly advertisements and sign up for retailer email notifications to remain informed of promotions. 2.

Reuse Existing Supplies: Before purchasing new supplies, identify existing supplies that can be reused from last year. Supplies such as backpacks, lunch boxes, rulers, and more can be reused.

Repurposing supplies that are still in good condition can indeed help parents save money. 3.

Spread Out Purchases Over Time: What parents should do is purchase the necessities first and buy additional items as they go along. This strategy helps parents purchase the essential items they need without spending money on items that may not be used.

4. Comparison Shop for Best Prices: Researching online prices or in-store prices to ensure that you are obtaining the best deal on all your purchases.

Use comparison shopping tools to keep track of which retailers offer the best price for specific items. 5.

Buy in Bulk: Buying in bulk is beneficial when shopping for non-perishable school supplies, such as tissues or pencils. Parents can visit bulk retailers or online bulk suppliers.

Ensure that the retail price is less than the bulk price to save money.


Effective back-to-school shopping doesn’t need to be stressful or expensive, even with rising inflation, as there are numerous tips and tricks to save money. Be creative, and don’t hesitate to reuse existing supplies or purchase gently used items to stretch your dollar further.

As always, maximize savings by taking advantage of sales and coupons, comparison shopping, and buying in bulk. By following these expert recommendations, parents can save money on back-to-school shopping this year.

Back-to-school shopping during inflation can be challenging for families, but there are effective ways to mitigate the financial impact. The article discussed various strategies like shopping for sales, opting for cheaper alternatives, purchasing store brands, and shopping at discount stores.

The GOBankingRates survey revealed that parents are creative in spending while the expert recommendations recommend ways to beat inflation such as shopping for secondhand supplies, taking stock of existing supplies, comparison shopping, buying in bulk, etc. Paid attention to sales and coupons, repurposing supplies, and spreading out purchases over time could also help save money.

It’s important to take charge of the back-to-school shopping budget by being resourceful. These tips can help provide more options for parents and stress the importance of budget planning before shopping.

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