It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost over, meaning you’re probably well into your 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 $864 on back-to-school shopping in 2022 — $15 more than last year — according to the National Retail Federation. Total spending for families with kids in elementary through high school is projected to match the record high of $37 billion spent in 2021.
You probably still have items left on your back-to-school shopping list, ranging from last-minute school supplies to wardrobe essentials.
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 backpack is an essential item. While a backpack should last a few school years, this might be the fall that your child needs a new one.
For the younger kids, Walmart has superheroes backpacks – Superman and Batman – that come with detachable lunch totes for $16.96, and Target sells Disney Princess, Minions and “Paw Patrol” bookbags for a regular price of $18.99.
For the older ones, the well-known JanSport brand starts at $34.99 at Target and $32 at Amazon. Since this is an accessory your child will carry every day, you’ll probably want to get their input before making a purchase to make sure it is an appropriate size and does everything it needs to do, including having adequate room to carry a laptop.
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Some kids buy lunch at school, but others prefer meals made at home. If your children fall into the latter group, they will need a durable lunch box to keep their fare fresh.
Ideal for those who enjoy variety, Amazon sells a five-compartment Bentgo Kids lunch box for $27.99 that makes room for a sandwich, fruit, yogurt and more. Target also offers a selection of PVC-free, insulated Thermos brand lunch kits for $9.99 and Walmart has an Arctic Zone insulated lunch bag — with food container, water bottle and ice pack — for $9.96.
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 47 cents at Walmart. You’ll also find a 175-sheet pack of notebook paper for 99 cents at and a 24-pack of Crayola crayons for 50 cents at Target. The Target crayon price beats the cost at Amazon, where a bundle of four 24-packs costs $8.63.
Older kids might need to take a laptop to school or keep one at home for homework. 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 with a model on sale for $899.99, but the store has a selection of pre-owned Apple machines beginning at $279.99. Select Chromebooks are currently on sale at Staples, starting at $189.99. Walmart has HP laptops equipped with Windows 11 starting at $199, and Dell offers its Inspiron model starting at $249.99.
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 to keep assignments on track for $9.99 and Walmart has a full-sized desk calendar that will get them through June 2023 for $5.64. Parents who grew up with the Trapper Keeper might splurge on one to keep their youngster super-organized. They’re available on Amazon, starting at $10.87.
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.
If you’re looking for shorts for gym class, Kohl’s has Champion brand mesh shorts for boys on sale for $8.99. Girls can pair the bike-style shorts, $9.99 on sale at Kohl’s, with a variety of tees. Also having a sale is Old Navy, where jeans are on sale starting at $12 in kids’ sizes and $18 for adults.
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Jami Farkas contributed to the reporting for this article.
All prices in this article are accurate as of Aug. 17, 2022. Prices are subject to change at any time.