Back to school season is upon us: in stores, kid-sized mannequins are clad in denim, they wear backpacks and carry pencil cases. Students will return from the first day of school — Friday in Kanawha County schools — with lists of supplies for the year.
All that stuff costs money. And because of a few national surveys on the cost of school supplies, we can get an idea of how much.
My colleague Jared wrote last week about Huntington Bank’s “Backpack Index,” which measures the cost of all the things parents usually need to buy kids when they go back to school. The index found that the cost of school supplies increased 7.3 percent since last year. And, Jared wrote:
Parents of elementary and middle school children will pay 5.3 percent more for supplies this year, according to the survey. Huntington said the average elementary school parent is expected to spend about $577 their child’s supplies, while middle school parents should spend about $763.
And check the Backpack Index website for a back-t0-school budgeting tool that is kind of cool.
On the other side of that coin is the National Retail Federation’s annual survey on back-to-school spending — that survey predicts back-to-school spending to be down this year, but still expects total spending to reach $72.5 billion. Of that, back-to-college spending should account for something like $45.8 billion.
For young kids, most of that money will be spent on clothing, apparently:
The biggest portion of back-to-school shoppers’ budgets will go toward new apparel and accessories: 95.3 percent of those with school-age children will spend an average of $230.85 on fall sweaters, denim and other chic pieces of attire. Additionally, families will spend on shoes ($114.39) and school supplies ($90.49).
Fewer families with children in grades K-12 will purchase electronics (55.7%), and those that are going to invest in a new tablet or smartphone are going to spend slightly less than last year ($199.05 vs. $217.88 in 2012).
But for college kids, the most money will go toward technology, and stuff to outfit their dorms and apartments.
Though almost every category will see a decrease in spending, there’s one area that will increase for retailers: dorm and apartment furnishings. Two in five (42.0%) families will spend an average $104.76 on new bedding, small refrigerators and microwaves, up from $100.27 last year. Spending on food items is expected to increase as well ($104.44 vs. $100.18 last year).