How to save money on school supplies in 2022

Back-to-school supplies have drastically increased in cost, forcing most parents to rethink their family budgets. Here's how you can save some money and still meet your kid's school needs this year.

save money school supplies
Sky-rocketing consumer products have put shoppers in a fix, especially parents of kids who are going back to school this year. There are a few options including charity organizations and tax breaks that can help you save money if you’re shopping for school supplies for your kids.

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Given the constantly increasing commodity prices thanks to the steep inflation rate, perhaps you are among the millions of Americans who are bearing the burden of increased rates. As with everything else, school supplies expenses and other costs related to kids going back to school to attend classes in person this year have increased drastically compared to last year making it harder to save money. So much so that even wealthy families are keeping an eye out for discounts and deals on school supplies even though they aren’t really affected by inflation as others. 

Average spending on school supplies

In 2020 and 2021, the average costs of school supplies for an American household were $789 and $840 respectively. This year, however, it is expected that every family in the United States will spend an average of $864 on getting their kids back to school. While wealthy families who aren’t affected much by the steep inflation rate will continue spending on school supplies as usual without feeling the pinch, the story is quite different for low- and medium-income households.

In fact, many of these families will be spending less on other commodities this year to ensure that their kids have everything they need to get back to school. Back-to-school products are considered a priority and essential items by parents. In fact, shopping for school supplies is the second highest spending category after the winter holiday shopping spree. 

Balance family budgets

A large majority of consumers have reported that the back-to-school products they need the most are the ones that have increased in cost the most, especially clothing. To accommodate these price increases, parents are now looking to cut back on other expenses to balance their family budgets. 12% of the impacted parents are planning on taking on debt or borrowing money to meet the increased costs. 18% are either taking up an additional job or working extra hours and almost 40% are planning on cutting costs in other areas to provide for school supplies. 

Here are a few tips for you to save money when shopping for your kids’ school supplies. 

Check out the Assistance League

The Assistance League is a non-profit organization that offers solutions led by communities all over the country. It operates in 301 locations and is spread out across 27 states. Its activities include a program known as “Operation School Bell”. This program was started decades ago with the main purpose of giving children clothes. Children who may otherwise have to miss attending school because they don’t have access to basic clothing. Since then, the program has offered and continues to offer a wide variety of other services. Local chapters of the organization host literacy events very often. They also conduct book and clothing drives and even help students with fewer means to get dresses for prom. 

The Assistance League offers families gift cards from stores that partner with them. This includes Target. They also give students “Looking Smart Kits,” which include products for promoting personal hygiene and other personal care items. 

Since 1984, Operation School Bell has enabled more than 100,000 children in need to get access to necessary clothing in Austin, Texas,, alone. Preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school students get a clothing pack that contains a belt, shirt, pants, underwear, a jacket, socks, and a grooming kit. 

The Kids In Need Foundation

The Kids In Need Foundation (KINF) is also a non-profit that operates all over the country. The organization partners with schools that don’t have adequate resources and collaborates with their teachers and students to help them become the best versions of themselves. They have a variety of programs, one of which is the “Supply A Student” program. In this program, backpacks filled with notebooks, folders, markers, pencils, scissors and other school supplies, are handed over to schools that are in dire need of them. The organization also sends supplies to groups or companies that want to do their own backpack drive initiatives. They support those who offer their time and support in assembling these backpacks. 

Adults cannot directly get support from the foundation. Instead, parents are encouraged to get in touch with their child’s teacher, counselor or principal. This is regarding the necessary school supplies or other local resources that could be of help for people to save money. The foundation also has a number of partner organizations. They enable teachers from these schools to look for donated supplies at no cost.

Make use of tax holidays

Florida, for the first time in 2022, gave its residents more than 3 months of tax-free days on children’s books. The period started on May 14 and went on till August 14. Next year, from July 1 to June 30, you can buy diapers and children’s clothes without paying taxes in Florida. This year, the sales tax holiday on back-to-school products started on July 25 and went on until August 7. A few other states have passed similar tax-free holidays for school supplies recently as well.

The Operation Homefront program

Operation Homefront was created in 2002, particularly for military families. Since then, it has hosted various programs. One of their most popular programs is the Back-to-School Brigade. It is a set of collection drive and distribution activities for school supplies that operate throughout the country.

The Back-to-School Brigade was started in 2008. It has since distributed more than 465,000 backpacks filled with essential supplies to military children. The supplies have been given mainly by Dollar Tree, an organization that has partnered with them for a long time.

If you wish to donate school supplies and help others save money, you can do so as well. Simply take the supplies down to any of the 7,800 and more Dollar Tree stores that participate in the drive. They will be collected by Operation Homefront workers between June and August. With the help of all its partners, the Back-to-School brigade will be distributing its 500,000th backpack this year. 

This page is purely informational. Line does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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