Back to School Costs

The Lempert Report
August 11, 2022

Phil: Also spending on school, clothes and supplies this year is gonna be a record of $37 million, according to the National Retail Federation, the average family with school age kids, like you and Tony, are gonna wind up spending $864 for school supplies. What do you think about that? 

Sally: That $864. That's a lot of money and I'm not sure, you know, that it says the average family, you know, that makes me wonder how many kids do you have? But just from my own experience, I have two children, one in middle school, one in elementary school, and we spent $250 on the school list supplies this year, but we spent, you know, an additional four or $500 on school clothes for the kids. So yeah, it makes sense when you look at that number and, you know, things are just so expensive. I also wonder about food. If more parents are going to be switching to school lunch, because it's getting more and more expensive to buy groceries and pack those lunches every day. 

Phil: Well, Walmart is doing, Walmart has noticed that, and they're the number one destination for back to school shopping. What they noticed is people went shopping for food and then they didn't have any more money. So they didn't go to the school supplies and the clothing and whatever else. So they have to keep on lowering prices for clothes and other non-necessities to get people out of the food aisle. Also there was somebody that they interviewed from Texas for this piece and brought up something real interesting that I had not thought about. You probably have, but because of the pandemic and kids, you know, studying from home or remotely or whatever else, they didn't have the extra cost of costumes, musical instruments, field trips, and so on. And now the kids are going back to school. They have those costs on top of it. 

Sally: Yes, it is true. And those things can add up throughout the year. What I would love to see, Phil, for these school supplies is, you know, I would've loved to have seen my local Kroger or Publix or the Target around here that's close to me actually take those local school supply lists and actually bundle those school supplies up for me so that I can go to the store. Say, here's the school my kid goes to and the grade that they're in and get a bundled package of their supplies at maybe a discounted rate.

Phil: That's a great idea. And even if it's not in a discount, but the convenience of all that is fabulous. You don't have to wander up and down the aisles looking for stuff that might be outta stock. 

Sally: Absolutely.