Back-to-school 2022: Experts say now is the time to start shopping for supplies if you want good deals

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Back to school is just around the corner in early August, and experts say now is the time to start stocking up on supplies.

As consumers face rising costs from inflation, economists say you need to take the time to find the best deals on your kids’ lists.

Those back-to-school lists are long and expensive. Experts say if you want to save money on supplies you need to start shopping now and take your time to find the best deals.

“Every year the list gets longer and longer,” said Christina Tokarski, a parent in the Philadelphia School District.

With new clothes, shoes, and calculators for her kids, Tokarski knows she’ll be spending a lot.

She took her family to the Back-to-School Bus Tour, which started in Bridesburg on Monday, for free supplies.

“I have a new book bag and it’s my favorite color and I have a ruler and I’ve never had a ruler,” said Aubree Wible, who is in the 3rd grade.

At the event, the school district filled free backpacks for families in need of assistance.

“We know that going back to school can be overwhelming, especially after the summer, and we just want to take some of that load off,” said Adam Northam, the district’s director of internal communications.

Back to school items are not immune to inflation. Action News’ data journalism team says textbooks and materials are up 3.7% this year and tuition is also up 3.1% for elementary and secondary schools.

“It’s hard to ignore, and it’s taking a bite out of more people, more consumers,” said Swee-Lim Chia, associate professor of marketing at La Salle University.

He says consumers need to shop smarter this year.

Swee-Lim Chia suggests people plan their purchases after the sale, consider different brands and compare costs between stores before deciding to make a purchase.

“Look out for the special offers, look out for the discounts, look out for the coupons. And a lot of stores are obviously very aggressive, so be smart and do your homework,” he said.

The hundreds of families who lined up for the Bridesburg giveaway already have a few things to tick off the list.

“Even if it’s just a pencil case and a folder, it helps a lot,” Tokarski said.

New Jersey shoppers looking to save a few bucks will take a break. The state is waiving sales tax on all back-to-school items from August 27 to September 5.

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