GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The start of school is just two weeks away for some families in West Michigan, which means many people are back-to-school shopping. With inflation still high, some parents and teachers are finding the cost of supplies has gone up too.
School shopping lists are familiar to families, but the prices of supplies this year may not be.
“Everything across the board is expensive whether it’s shoes, school supplies, backpacks, just kind of everything. So, you can’t really tell what is more expensive,” said mother Mariah Guzman.
“This year, I’ve definitely spent over $1,000 for stuff in my classroom,” said teacher Becca DeBoer.
Choices can feel like a little bit of a luxury. Students may not be able to get the designs they want because parents may be focused on stretching their dollar to cover the entire list.
“Sometimes it’s a little bit of a burden when you have tuition and everything else going on in life,” said Mariah Guzman.
Filling up the cart can take a little bit longer, Guzman says.
“It has been a little bit of a hassle because of the price gouging and everything. Things are a little bit more expensive, but the quality can also go down,” said Guzman.
“I definitely think inflation definitely plays a part,” added DeBoer.
DeBoer will be teaching first grade and told News 8 she has to spread her school supply shopping out.
“We came to Walmart because we thought that would be cheaper than a lot of stores like Target, Meijer, things like that. I have done a lot at the Dollar Tree, but I mean now it’s $1.25 so it does make a difference when you are buying a lot,” said DeBoer.
Store-to-store shopping can take a long time to find a deal.
“I’ve probably hit about anywhere from 5 to 10 stores. And I feel it’s mainly for that, where has the better deals?” said Guzman.
Just as quickly as items are bought, stores are trying to keep up with the supply demand.
“The Walmart that is closer to my house didn’t have as nearly as much as what was here,” said DeBoer.
“I don’t know if stuff is picked over or what. And with families going back to school, the supply is lower for us,” said DeBoer.
Experts suggest seeking out less expensive brands. Also look out for price cuts or discounts on the more pricier requirements like backpacks.
“Use your resources. Sometimes on Facebook they’ll have coupons, or like, ‘Hey, they are having a sale here,’” said Guzman.
Try to utilize social media and local groups for information and supplies.
“And I guess just asking for help when you need it. There are different resources around. Call your primary care provider, call the school and just utilize what you can,” said Guzman.
According to the National Retail Federation, people are predicted to spend record amounts on school supplies this year.
Back-to-school shopping is expected to hit $41.5 billion, a large increase from $36.9 billion last year and $37.1 billion in 2021.
Families with elementary through high school students are predicted to spend on average $890.07 on back-to-school supplies this year.
That’s about $25 more than what families spent on school supplies last year, bringing back-to-school costs to a historic high.