Aug 3, 2022 - News

Families are cutting back on back-to-school spending

Illustration of a pencil with a price that moves up to $9 instead of the number 2.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

More than half of families are planning to cut back on back-to-school shopping this year due to rising inflation, according to a new national survey from real estate and retail management firm JLL.

Driving the news: The survey of 1,001 parents of school-age children in mid-June found that the average back-to-school budget is $339 per child this year, up from $332 in 2021.

  • While most plan to spend either somewhat less or significantly less than last year, nearly one-third of parents say their budgets won't be affected by inflation.
  • The latter group expects to spend 31.5% more on average than they did in 2021, fueling the net growth.

Why it matters: The rising cost of clothing and other goods is putting more parents in a pinch this school year, especially families with lower incomes. And businesses are getting squeezed by the shift in shopping habits.

Between the lines: Most parents are turning to bargain hunting, coupon clipping and shopping secondhand to save on supplies, according to JLL.

  • Half say they plan to focus on just the necessities.

Zoom in: The School District of Philadelphia is offering families a way to save on some costs ahead of the return to classes on Aug. 29.

  • The district is donating free school supplies like backpacks, crayons and pencil cases to students as part of its back-to-school bus tour that launched this week.

Details: The tour's route includes pop-up events at rec centers and schools across the city.

  • Its first "mega-event" will be held at 10am this Friday at Northeast High School's sports complex, where families can also receive required immunizations and physicals for free, as well as COVID vaccinations.

More tour stop info


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