It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over, meaning it’s time to start back-to-school shopping. You want your children to have the best of everything, but you also need to stick to a budget.
The average household is expected to spend $849 on back-to-school shopping in 2021 — $59 more than last year — according to the National Retail Federation. Total spending for families with kids in elementary through high school is projected to reach a record-high $37.1 billion.
You’ve made a list of supplies your children need, and now it’s time to start shopping. As a busy parent, you don’t have a lot of spare time, but comparing prices at a variety of stores is the best way to stretch your dollar.
No doubt, you already have enough on your plate, so GOBankingRates did the research for you. Here’s a look at prices for the most popular school supplies at some of the nation’s largest retailers and online marketplaces.
Whether your kids are in elementary school or high school, a bookbag is an essential item. While they probably have several at home, kids tend to want a new one at the start of every school year.
Walmart has a Mickey Mouse backpack for $28 normally and on sale now for $22.50, Target sells a “Paw Patrol” bookbag for a regular price of $16.99 and Amazon sells a variety of Jansport styles starting at $33.46. Since this is an accessory your child will carry every day, you’ll probably want to get their input before making a purchase.
Some kids buy lunch at school, but others prefer to pack. If your children fall into the latter group, they need a durable lunch box that will keep their fare fresh.
Ideal for those who enjoy variety, Amazon sells a five-compartment Bentgo Kids lunch box for $24.99. Target also offers a selection of BPA-free, insulated Cat and Jack brand lunch boxes for $9.99 and Walmart has an Arctic Zone insulated lunch bag — with food container — for $8.97.
Much of the world has gone digital, but that doesn’t mean kids go to school and stare at screens all day. In fact, their classroom lists probably include many of the same school supplies you used when you were their age.
Get a 24-pack of No. 2 wood pencils for 97 cents and a pencil sharpener for 98 cents at Walmart. You’ll also find a 175-sheet pack of notebook paper for 99 cents at Target and a 24-pack of Crayola crayons on Amazon for $6.35.
Older kids might need a laptop to bring to school or at least do their homework on. If they don’t already have their own or their current one needs an upgrade, it’s a good idea to purchase one before the school year starts.
Best Buy sells a variety of Apple MacBook Air laptops starting at $429.99, while select Chromebooks are currently on sale at Office Depot, starting at $199.99. HP also has laptops starting at $299.99 and Dell offers its Inspiron model starting at $409.99.
Your children have a lot going on. From keeping track of papers from different classes to managing school activities, staying organized can be a challenge, so it’s wise to invest in a helper.
Target offers an academic planner for $7.99 and Walmart has a locker-sized wall calendar that will get them through August 2022 for 98 cents. If you’re a ’90s kid, you’ll be excited to learn the Trapper Keeper is back and new versions of this retro favorite are available on Amazon, starting at $21.99.
Read More: COVID-19’s Economic Impact on Education
It wouldn’t be a new school year without at least a few additions to your kids’ wardrobe. Whether they outgrew last year’s favorites or need to replace some well-worn items, new clothes can add up fast, so finding deals is important.
Kohl’s is currently having a sale where kids’ tees start at $7.99 — regularly priced at $12-$20 — and kids’ denim starts at $17.99 — regularly priced at $25-$40. Also having a sale, Old Navy is offering gender-neutral canvas slip-on sneakers for $15 right now, down from the regular price of $22.99.
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