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AUGUST 16, 2022, BOSTON, MA–Each August, parents pour into stores to take part in the $34.4 billion industry that is back-to-school shopping. With school supply lists that range from pricey graphing calculators to those classic multicolored spiral notebooks, August is a spending marathon that many parents face as the new school year approaches.
But this year, there’s an added twist: inflation.
A study conducted by the National Retail Federation says that expected back-to-school spending per household is $864 this year, up from $697 in 2019. (That sum includes electronics, which have grown in importance with the rise of online learning.) The 2022 Deloitte back-to-school survey reports that parents are expecting to spend 8 percent more now compared to 2021.
All sorts of stuff has gone up in price. Kids shoes cost 8 percent more than they did a year ago, according to federal inflation data. Office supplies like pens and paper? 11 percent more.
Costs pile up fast, leaving some parents stretched thin. When adding in rising costs at the gas pump and in grocery stores, Patrick Muyonjo, a single father of four, is feeling the financial strain.
“This year, it’s much harder,” Muyonjo said. “This is the first time in a couple of years that I’ve had to scratch my head to try to work out a budget to meet the needs of the kids going to school.”
Back-to-school spending isn’t a new problem for Muyonjo and his family, who have been below the poverty line for much of the last three years. His four children, ages 11 through 13, attend Boston public school and rely solely on their father for financial support.
With inflation rates rising dramatically in recent months, steeper back-to-school prices often force low-income parents to choose between paying bills or spending on school supplies.
“Inflation is a huge part of it ” said Aubrey Henderson, executive director of local…nonprofit Cradles to Crayons. “Parents are just trying to provide for the rent and the housing and the food. When you get to backpacks or new sneakers, it becomes simply unaffordable.”
Continued at bostonglobe.com.