Little girl and her older sister student in a protective medical masks chooses school stationery in a store. Preparing for school. Prevention of coronavirus. Back to school shopping.

Irene Puzankova/istockphoto

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Many parents let out a sigh of disdain when their kids come home on the last day of school with a worn-out backpack that was supposed to last more than one school year. And somewhere in a shoe aisle, there's a parent trying to explain the whole "you don't take good enough care of your shoes to justify spending $100 on one pair" concept to an eye-rolling preteen.

Yes, it's that time of year again: back-to-school shopping. And during these inflationary times, the cost is hitting families' checking accounts harder than ever before. Even as parents fret over how expensive school supplies and clothes are, they are spending more than they did last year and even going into debt to make sure their kids are equipped for the classroom. There are plenty of shopping tips to avoid falling into that demographic, though, from cash-back bonuses to TikTok hacks.

Consumers with children in grades K-12 plan to spend an average $864 on school essentials including supplies, clothes, and technology, up $15 from a year ago and $168 more than before the pandemic, according to the National Retail Federation. If that number just doesn't sit right with you, you aren't alone. Fifty-seven percent of consumers expressed concern over the rising cost of school items, according to a Deloitte study. Most of the increase was driven by higher prices for clothing.

If you're looking for ways to save, there are tips to make back-to-school shopping more affordable. For starters, check to see if your state offers a sales tax holiday. You can also place online orders using cash-back sites and leverage the power of credit-card rewards. Another strategy: Buy the essentials, such as notebooks and pencils, first and wait for the lunchboxes and headphones to go on sale after the back-to-school rush has eased.


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