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Absence of Child Tax Credit and Stimulus Checks Amid Inflation Has Parents Sweating Back to School Shopping

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Students will start heading back to school in a matter of weeks, but fewer parents say they can afford back-to-school shopping this year because of rising inflation.

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According to a recent Morning Consult survey, as reported by USA Today, only 36% of the 2,178 U.S. parents surveyed said they can afford their kids’ back-to-school shopping. That number was down from 52% the previous year. The survey also found that over 37% of parents are stressed about back-to-school shopping, up from 32% the year before.

Last year, USA Today noted that families benefited from stimulus checks and advance child tax credit payments. “Now, these savings are being depleted as the burden of inflation gets heavier,” said Claire Tassin, Morning Consult retail and e-commerce analyst.

The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased 1.3% in June on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 9.1%, the fastest increase in decades.

The Morning Consult said that since early May, the number of back-to-school shoppers planning to spend more than $500 on supplies has increased to 25% (from 11%). A Deloitte poll also revealed that 60% of the 1,200 parents surveyed said they’re spending more because prices are higher. The average amount spent per child is up 8% to $661 from last year, and up 27% from 2019.

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Data from the National Retail Federation showed that the average family will be spending $864 this year to send their child back to school, about 2% more than last year, CBS News reported.

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