Inflation Hits Back To School Shopping

Inflation is hitting back to school shopping, leaving families struggling to find and buy needed school supplies for the classroom.

By Jessica Marie Baumgartner | Published

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school shopping

The “dog days of summer” are in full swing. While many students are enjoying their academic break, parents know that the next school year isn’t far off and school shopping is just around the corner. No matter how many pens, pencils, and binders students will need, inflation has continued to increase and is now at a massive 9.1%. This is already hitting back to school shopping and is not likely to let up anytime soon. 

A bad economy strains families. It punishes students, whose public school supply lists seem to grow each year. Somehow, despite pumping billions of dollars into the school system, and increasing budgets more than ever, schools still demand that families spend hundreds of dollars to buy classroom supplies, but prices aren’t just increasing, many parents will learn that shrinkflation is another tactic that will affect their school shopping purchases. 

Shrinkflation is when companies try to cut costs by decreasing the amount of product consumers to prevent raising prices. It is seen as a move to combat inflation without charging people more. Unfortunately, this leaves students less prepared as pencil packages reduce content, while the cost of other products skyrockets. This year parents will be hard pressed to pay attention to costs and classroom requirements in order to fulfill school shopping needs.

Last summer the average family spent about $500 on school shopping. The estimated amount needed this year is $545, which may not seem like a huge jump to some families, but taking into consideration the fact that this includes shrinkflation and parents are paying more while receiving less in return makes the situation much worse. In addition, some schools may stipulate exactly how many pages of loose leaf paper must be brought in, or the size of Kleenex boxes in order to ensure that classroom needs are met. If shrinkflation places lower cost items below the criteria, parents will have to buy double in some cases, costing them far more than they would without the added stress of shrinkflation and counting quantities. 

What’s more, not all items are displaying price increases equally. While personal electronics slightly decreased in price, the cost of paper has skyrocketed and even went up 150% on amazon. Computer prices jumped 10% last fall and manufacturing costs continue to rise. As PC costs go up, less families are able to afford new computers or software upgrades. This poses serious issues for school shopping as more and more districts are requiring homework to be typed up, and some schools are even being designed to offer fully remote instruction.  

school shopping

School shopping is going to be difficult this year. As if the cost of gas, groceries, and clothing weren’t already straining budgets and driving families to cut back enough, the added costs of acquiring school supplies are driving consumers to further deplete their savings or even seek out personal loans as interest rates continue to go up. People are paying more for less and yet school supply lists continue to grow. Whether districts will address this issue or not is unclear. Regardless, back to school shopping is going to be a struggle for many.