Supply shopping can overshadow back to school excitement - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Supply shopping can overshadow back to school excitement

BUTLER COUNTY, MO (KFVS) -

Gearing up to head back to school means spending money.

In fact, the National Retail Federation reports the average family will spend around 97-dollars on school supplies like notebooks, pencils and backpacks. That's the second-highest amount since the recession. 

There is no denying heading back to school is an exciting time of year.

"My favorite part is the first day of school because I get to meet to people. And I get new teachers," 3rd grader Toryn House said.

But that excitement comes at a cost, something Jamie House knows all too well.

"I've already had to divide everything we have to do to get them ready for school on different weeks and different days just so it doesn't hurt the bank account so much," House said.

Jamie spent a total of $92.93 on school supplies alone.

Her receipt though doesn't include everything on that supply list, backpacks, shoes, or new clothes.

"I definitely think the lists are a lot longer. I definitely don't remember them being that long for me, which I know there's a big gap but even just from a couple years ago, I know I never in my life bought 72 pencils for one child," Jamie said.

But parents aren't alone, teachers are pinching pennies this time of year as well.

"I buy extras of everything," Danielle Ingram said, a k-2 teacher at Prodigy Leadership Academy. "So anything that's on the school supplies list, I'm always buying extras because I know the kids will run out, or there maybe kids that don't have it so I always make sure the kids feel comfortable knowing that they're going to have everything that everyone else has."

while teachers like Ingram do get some money from the school, a lot of it comes from their own pocket.

Ingram says she spends about $1,000 every year keeping her room stocked.

"I am either pulling from my own personal budget or I am pulling from the school, what they've allotted us," Ingram said. "I try to save some of that money so that in the middle of the year when folders are ripped and pencils are broken, that I am not constantly asking for other things."

Despite the cost, both parents and teachers seem to agree on one thing- the focus must be on the students.

"It's just fun and you get to learn," Toryn said.

Here are some easy ways to slash those back to school costs:

  • Don't buy what you don't need. There's a chance last year's markers are still in good shape.
  • Try shopping online. You can cut back on impulse buys and cash in on additional discounts.
  • DIY it. You can turn those off-brand school supplies into something personalized with something as simple as a doodle.
  • Take advantage of technology. The Target Cartwheel app finds you additional discounts and Walmart's Savings Catcher will give you money back if it finds lower prices.
  • Wait for Tax Free Weekends. There are 18 states across the country that slash the sales tax before school starts.

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