TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Though all signs point toward overall inflation going down, expectations are still high, especially as the Tampa Bay area gets ready to hit the books for another school year.
According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF), higher prices and demand for electronics are pushing many families to spend even more to send their kids back to class.
The NRF survey found back-to-school spending will exceed $41 billion this semester, more than $4 billion greater than last year. So if you want to save, you have to be smart.
“One of my favorite things is now so many apps have the ability to scan,” said Steffany Rodriguez-Neely. “You can compare prices right there in store.”
Rodriguez-Neely is the founder of the Tampa Bay Moms Group — she’s done her fair share of school supply runs. She said patience on some items, especially those your child doesn’t immediately need — can mean savings.
“Hold off on those,” Rodriguez-Neely said. “It’s hard to find because everybody gets that same generic list, so everyone in that grade in that school is hunting for those items, that might not be necessary. And you’re going to find them easier and probably cheaper a week or two weeks later.”
Rodriguez-Neely added you can save on those new school clothes too.
“We’re pretty much 100 degrees year-round at this point,” she said. “So if you check those clearance racks where they are moving their summer clothes to bring clothes for fall and winter that we don’t necessarily need, you will find some good deals on those clearance racks as well.”
The survey found families with elementary through high school age kids will spend nearly $900 on everything from binders to backpacks, and colleges students and their families are expected to spend nearly $1,400 per person. This increase is mostly caused by the highest-ever demand for electronics and computer-related accessories.
Though more than half of the consumers surveyed said they have already started shopping, a vast majority also said they still have at least half of their shopping left to do.