School supplies are pricier this year. Here’s how to shop ‘back to school’ on a budget

With students soon heading back to the classroom, here's some tips on how to save on school supplies.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:52 AM HST|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 11:14 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Hawaii public school students get ready to head back to class Monday, parents are scrambling to find the best deals for supplies as prices.

Consumers are paying more for gas, food, just about everything — and school supplies are no exception.

Aside from the holidays, the Back-to-School season can be one of the most expensive times of the year for families. The National Retail Federation said families who have kids in grades K-12 will spend on average $864 on back to school shopping — that’s about $15 more than last year.

That might be because families are already used to spending so much more since the pandemic with the onset of digital learning and other costs that just weren’t around before.

Compared to 2019, parents will spend around $168 more on average this year.

Parents said they are doing everything they can to be as frugal as possible this school year.

”These days, I look at the price tags of things. I always try to because you pick up a paintbrush that looks like it cost $2, and it’s $30,” said Zoa Dubbary, a parent.

“So it’s just double checking before I put it in the shopping cart. And you know, I’ve got cheaper paint brushes at home that I can use rather than a $30 paint brush for my little 6-year-old.“

There are a number of ways parents can get at least some of their kids back to school supplies for free or cheaper.

Here’s some tips:

  • Take stock of what you may already have. Look around the house in junk drawers, your kid’s room, you might be surprised what you already have and don’t need to buy.
  • Spread out your purchases. It may seem a little late for that one weekend out from the start of school, but there my be things your child doesn’t need yet that you can get later.
  • Consider buying items in bulk and seeing if other families are up for splitting those costs
  • You can also look for ways to stack sales and other deals. No matter what store you shop at, download their app and look online, they may have ways to save on items that are already on sale.
  • Compare prices before you buy — a lot of the big box stores will match prices if you find a better deal. Run a quick Google search on your mobile device or use the free barcode scanning app like ShopSavvy, and do a price comparison or ask the manager or salesperson at the store and see if they do price comparison.

The Salvation Army is also working to provide school supplies and meals for families in need.

The organization is hoping to assist 350 students weekly at three elementary school and one middle school in West Oahu through it’s Kauluwela Corps.

The Salvation Army said it is in need of supplies such as backpacks, colored markers, pencils, notebooks, rulers, scissors, and more. They also accept monetary donations.

Backpacks will include food for two breakfasts, two lunches and two snacks.

To make a donation or for more information, click here.

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