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Rising cost of back-to-school supplies has parents changing shopping habits

Rising cost of back-to-school supplies has parents changing shopping habits
Rising cost of back-to-school supplies has parents changing shopping habits 02:11

By Courtney Cole, WBZ-TV

BOSTON – Whether you have a child heading back to school or heading off to college, one thing is for sure. When it comes to cost, buying the supplies students need can add-up quickly.

And because of inflation, some parents are adjusting their shopping behaviors to make sure their kids have what they need.

Getting back-to-school supplies is something some parents are now having to carefully plan for.

Christina Turcios, a mother of two, said store rewards programs and coupons help.

"I save a little bit of money with that, but I tried to shop non-brand sometimes," Turcios said.

Mali Brodt said it also doesn't hurt that her three daughters aren't asking for as much as they usually do.

"We reuse some of the school supplies, because they ask for the same things here after year, some of them," Brodt said.

Back-to-school spending has increased dramatically since the start of the COVID pandemic. According to the National Retail Federation, families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $864 on school items. That's about $15 more than last year.

Total spending is expected to reach $11 billion dollars.

"Just feeling the difference in cost of living from going to Oklahoma to Massachusetts, it seems like most things are double what you would expect them to be," said Michael Deutsch, who moved to Boston attend graduate school.

Jeffery Bailey, the Divisional Social Services Director for the Salvation Army said he can tell the difference in need, compared to the last two years.

"Absolutely the need is greater— and let me explain why. The last two years, the kids have been doing some form of school at home. Hybrid, some kids have gone part-time. But now this is the first year all schools are expected to have all their children back. There's a much greater demand out there. The resources are a lot harder," Bailey said.

It's why he said they're hosting a Back-to-School Celebration on Thursday with TD Garden and the City of Boston.

"We have about 4,000 backpacks I will be handing out," Bailey said, noting that the backpacks will come with supplies inside.

"Each child should go into school feeling like their family has their backs and parents to have their children go to school without worrying," Bailey said.

The Salvation Army back-to-school celebration is scheduled for Thursday at 650 Dudley Street in Dorchester. Parents are asked to register, but anyone who needs help can also just show up. 

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