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Welp, parents, it looks like you’ll need to leave even more room in your budget for school supplies this year: According to the National Retail Federation, families will spend an average of $849 on supplies in 2021, $59 more than last year, due to pandemic-related supply chain issues. Here’s a look at what you can expect and ways to save money on supplies.
Supply chain issues are inflating school supply costs
As Money.com reports, retailers like Walmart and Amazon are fighting for space on shipping containers, and in some cases, paying for air freight, which is much more expensive. For that reason, basic supplies like pencils and paper will likely be marked up, for a projected average cost of $849. (For college students, it’s $1,050.) There’s also a microchip shortage that is affecting laptops and other electronics, so you might see a bump in prices there, too—or at least fewer deals.
How to save money on school suppliesStart shopping now: Beat the late August rush and look for deals now, while you have more time to shop. Most big retailers have newsletters or alerts you can sign up for, which will give you a heads-up on any discounts or coupons.Shop based on need only: A lot of supplies, like binders, rulers, or pens can be recycled year over year, so look around the home and take stock of what you already have, and then go shopping.Find supplies on reseller sites like Craigslist: People on these sites sell stuff like backpacks or pencil crayons for next to nothing. Just make sure that you meet these sellers somewhere semi-public, like in the lobby of their building, and that you only pay them once you’ve seen the items in-person.Check whether your school district offers free supplies: As Verywell Family points out, some states require school districts to provide free supplies to children, as needed. Reach out to your local school district to see if they can provide assistance.Contact local charities and other non-profits: If you simply don’t have the cash, contact the Salvation Army, local churches, or non-profit agencies near you, as they will be able to provide donated supplies. Here’s a list by state to help you get started.
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