Some families already got a head start shopping for the school year when Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others held huge summer sales. Now parents are getting a new financial boost from the government: an increased child discount of up to $ 3,000 for school-age children. Michele Abercrombie / NPR hide caption
Michele Abercrombie / NPR
Michele Abercrombie / NPR
Susan Curp was on her way to the store when her 13-year-old daughter discovered something she couldn’t miss: the back-to-school sale. Notebooks covered with llamas and palm trees. Ballpoint pens, pencils and even a case for the scented disinfectant – naturally sparkling.
“I think she’s looking forward to organizing and just having a little more normalcy in her life,” says Curp.
Curp’s daughter has a twin brother who does much less shopping for the start of school. But he too will have to do it – because a lot has changed in the year and a half of the coronavirus pandemic.
“All children their age – many of them have had tremendous growth spurts,” says Curp.
Last year was all about desks and headphones. This year, clothing shopping is going through the roof. Not only are kids grown up, they want the latest styles or maybe a physical symbol of a fresh start.
That pushed back-to-school shopping to a new record high, which is projected to exceed $ 37 billion. The National Retail Federation estimates families will spend an average of $ 849 back to school, nearly $ 60 more than last year when people tried to set up classrooms at home. College students and their families are expected to spend an average of $ 1,200.
The industry views back-to-school shopping as a key factor in economic recovery. Of all retailers, department stores and clothing stores had the most disastrous year 2020. Now they are gearing up for their best year yet.
Most families stock up on new outfits to prepare for returning to classroom school. However, some are still planning the possibility of distance learning, or at least some elements of it.
Once again, electronics is the main driver of back-to-school spending at record levels. People are buying more and more laptops, calculators, tablets, and headphones.
Younger kids are also more likely to get a new smartphone this year, says Katherine Cullen of the National Retail Federation: “Maybe a purchase the family withheld last year when the kids were at home, but now they want their child to do so is able to … be in contact all day. “
Some families already got a head start shopping for the school year when Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others held huge summer sales. Now parents are getting a new financial boost from the government: an increased child discount of up to $ 3,000 for school-age children.
For Miguel Ferreira, who lives outside of Boston, that extra cash means he may have his 11-year-old daughter join the softball team.
“We can actually consider that instead of saying, ‘Honey, the equipment for this is going to be $ 100, you know. There’s no way we can afford that,'” he says. “There is some leeway now where there wasn’t before.”
This is of course great news for the sports stores looking to sell Ferreira this softball equipment.
The expanded tax credit goes hand in hand with another contribution to back-to-school spending at record levels: inflation. Ferreira says he’s noticed higher prices for everything from stationery to clothing.
“Pants that were $ 50 before were now $ 80,” he says.
Ferreira needed these pants for his teenage son, who grew taller during the pandemic, as did Curp’s twins. Fortunately for Curp, she lives in Austin, Texas, which is warmer. So your shy son could just keep wearing his old shorts – a little longer.