Back-to-School Shopping More Expensive This Year

Back-to-school season is upon us, says Retail Me Not, and parents are starting to shop for essential school supplies ranging from pens to apparel. Most schools take the guesswork out of the process by providing parents with a list of needed supplies, but this still this can be a stressful time for parents, as the list gets expensive fast

According to a recent survey by RetailMeNot, parents are planning to spend more money for this year's back-to-school shopping necessities compared to spending in 2017.

The High Cost of Learning Compared to Last Year


Cost 2018

Cost 2017













Art supplies 









Source: RetailMeNot, July 2018 vs. 2017

Shopping & Trends Expert for RetailMeNot, Sara Skirboll, says that "Parents aren't just spending more money on back to school, they're getting more strategic with their shopping. We found that 85% have given themselves five weeks to gather all the necessary school supplies for the start of the school year." And, RetailMeNot partnered with to gather insight into the most in-demand supplies for all grades. The top teacher requests are:

  • Crayons for kindergarten, first, second and third grade 
  • Loose-leaf paper for fourth, seventh and eighth grade 
  • Colored pencils for fifth and sixth grade 
  • Pens for all high school (ninth through twelfth grade)

The one part of back-to-school shopping that is in no short supply is stress, notes the report. RetailMeNot's survey shows that 87% of parents say this seasonal shopping stresses them out, and 37% of shoppers are also concerned about finding the best deals on items. The back-to-school lists from schools and teachers are practical and helpful, but surprising your student with a supply they're excited about is a surefire way to get them motivated for the first day, concludes the report.

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