What Is an Average Cost of School Supplies in 2024

What Is an Average Cost of School Supplies in 2024


5 Min Read

A new school year is just around the corner, so we decided to help you understand what you can expect from back-to-school shopping this year. Let’s talk about the average cost of school supplies in 2024, outline the best money-saving tips, and learn more about financing options that can reduce the painful hit to your wallet.

How Much Are School Supplies Expenses in 2024?

Even if you’re good at financial planning, back-to-school shopping can be quite stressful and put you in a bind. Statistics show that parents tend to spend more than they’ve planned on school supplies.

The National Retail Federation survey found that in 2024, the average back-to-school spending is expected to rise up to $890 per household, compared to $864 in 2022. This is the record level for the last 20 years.

But the reality may differ from the statistics. A Reuters survey of over 1,200 American families with school-aged kids found that consumers are expected to spend 10% less for school supplies compared to last year. Among the main reasons is the negative impact of inflation on their financial situations.

Thus, Americans are going to prioritize spending on the utmost necessities and give up wardrobe refreshing or purchasing electronics. This way, the planned back-to-school spending per child can fall to $597 against $661 in 2022, dropping for the first time in 9 years.

How Will Inflation Affect The Cost of School Supplies This Year?

Inflation remains the major factor that drives rising prices for back-to-school or college supplies. In June of 2024, inflation in the US slowed to 3%. Although it’s the lowest rate since March 2021, students and their parents will still see higher prices for back-to-school supplies, such as clothing, shoes, electronics, furniture, and more.

What Is a Good Budget for Back-to-School Supplies?

While some families may need over $1,000 to prepare a kid for school or college, others can manage with just $600 or $800. Everything depends on your child’s needs, the school year, and your approach to back-to-school shopping. Of course, the higher your budget, the more you can afford. However, if we are talking about moderate spending of an average American household, a budget of $800 to $1,000 will be considered good.

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Tips on Saving on Back-to-School Shopping

If you want to save on back-to-school shopping, start by searching out better deals and prioritizing your spending. Try to shop around for better prices, compare offers from different stores, and learn more about upcoming sales tax holidays in your area. Buying more store brand products can also help you save on return-to-school shopping. Multiple retailers try to meet the growing demand by offering school supplies at reasonable prices. Check the deals from Old Navy, Walmart, Target, and other retailers.

Also, you can save significantly by buying only items you need right now. This way, you will be able to split the overall cost by a few months, reducing the financial burden. Additionally, you may get great discounts if you wait until Black Friday or Labor Day. The National Retail Federation has found that prices for school supplies drop dramatically when a school year starts. Therefore, many American families consider September the best time for making some non-essential return-to-school purchases, such as electronics or clothing.

Ways to Finance Back-to-School Supplies

If you need extra help with your back-to-school shopping, below are some options that can keep your budget up.

Credit Cards

A credit card is one of the most popular ways to finance the utmost necessities. Some issuers offer various sign-up bonuses or provide interest-free periods, allowing you to save if you repay the funds before it ends. Additionally, cash-back bonuses and credit card rewards can help you reduce your expenses. Just make sure to use your credit card responsibly and understand the terms.

Buy Now, Pay Later Loans

Buy now, pay later is exactly what they sound like. They allow you to get the needed item now and repay its cost over a series of installments. However, some retailers require you to make the first payment immediately. While short-term loan plans may come with no interest rates, longer-term options can carry an APR of 36%. “Buy now, pay later” options are typically available when you shop online.

Personal Loans

If you need a significant amount for some major school-related expenses, consider getting a traditional personal loan. This option may work for you if you have good credit and want to get a loan at a low interest rate. However, a personal loan always comes with a hard credit check. Besides hurting your credit score, it will also take you several days or even weeks to get one.

In-Store Financing

In-store financing is available at multiple retailers in order to help customers buy what they want without paying upfront. It makes the process of getting a loan easier, as you don’t need to search for a lender to finance your purchase. Instead, you will get a one-time personal card that you can use to buy something within its balance. The card can be used only in the company’s stores. The repayment is typically made in fixed monthly installments.

Payday Loans

If you need a small amount of up to $1,000, a payday loan can work for you. This short-term loan can provide you with fast cash on the condition that you will repay it in full by your next paycheck. Payday loans are available with any credit and can be deposited directly to your bank account within one business day. However, they are also quite expensive.

Bottom Line

Back-to-school shopping is quite stressful, even for families with strong budgets. Nearly half of US households still go into debt to cover their back-to-school expenses. And unfortunately, school and college preparations tend to rise in price. This year, average back-to-school spending is expected to be 3% more expensive than it was in 2022. Thus, it can reach approximately $890 per household.

However, many American families are now in a worse financial situation than they were last year. Households with kids in elementary through high school plan to cut their return-to-school expenses this year. Thus, we are likely to see the first decline in back-to-school shopping spending in 9 years.

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Marsha Welch

Written by Marsha Welch

Written by Marsha Welch

Marsha Welch is a professional finance expert, qualified financial writer, and author of her own blog on financial literacy. As an author of 1F Cash Advance, Marsha want to be useful to businesses and individuals who want to modernize their wealth management or need an innovative financial planning solution.

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