Watch CBS News

Back to school costs expected to soar this season; Expert advice on how to save

Back to school costs on the rise
Back to school costs on the rise 02:15

NEW YORK -- Before your kids get ready to start sharpening those Number 2 pencils, parents should consider getting ready to spend big.

Experts predict this back to school shopping season could set a new record for the most expensive one ever.

The National Retail Federation estimates families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend, on average, $890 per household. Which is up $25 compared to last year.

For families with college students, they predict you'll spend $1,367 this year, which is up $168.

They also predict overall back to school spending will increase more than $24 billion compared to last year, bringing it up to $135 billion.

"It's kind of crazy that it has gone up that much," said Jillian Eppich, of Huntington.

"Like everything else, the price has gone up," said Gabriella Meyer, of Huntington Bay.

Inflation is still the main culprit in driving prices higher.

A recent survey by found the top three purchases parents and guardians intend to make include:

  • Clothing 82%
  • School supplies 80%
  • Shoes 77%

Another expensive purchase parents will likely have to make is electronics, like laptops and tablets.

"Wallets are strained right now, and our survey found that more than half of people are going to put their charges on credit," said Ashley Fricker, senior editor at

Fricker has some tips.

"Shop at bulk supply stores, especially if you have multiple kids," said Fricker. "'Buy now, pay later' can be a great option for zero percent financing, whereas a credit card will charge you interest if you don't pay the balance off before the due date."

She also says to take advantage of sales tax holidays.

Connecticut won't charge tax on certain school supplies form August 20 through August 26. New Jersey won't charge from August 26 through September 4. 

In New York, qualifying clothing and footwear are always exempt from the state's 4 percent sales tax when they are sold for less than $110. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.