Back to School Supplies Average $95 Nationally
How much does it really cost to outfit a student for the first day of school?
The back to school supply lists keep getting longer—with more and more strange requests. Parents may remember their own back to school supplies, tucked neatly in their backpack: a box of crayons, a 3-ring binder filled with loose leaf paper, a ruler, a couple pencils. If you were lucky, mom got you the big box of 128 crayons and the deluxe Trapper Keeper.
These days students are loaded down with several grocery sacks of supplies, often filled with requests for enough pencils, tissues, plastic bags and glue sticks to outfit the entire classroom. Thoughtful moms bring the supplies in early, at orientation, just to avoid a mishap of spilled crayons and glue on the first bus ride.
The National Retail Federation’s recent survey on back to school spending estimates that parents will, on average, shell out $688.62 to get kids from kindergarten to high school ready for school, up from $603.63 last year. This price tag includes new clothes, shoes and electronics.
The price for just school supplies--nationally--is estimated at $95.44.
Patch took a stroll down the back to school aisle at Walmart to see what kind of supplies students are asked to bring in this year. We picked up a copy of a local elementary school's supply list and gathered prices for a first grade student.
Here’s what we found:
- 2 boxes of Kleenex—$3.42
- 1 pkg. dry erase markers--$2.50
- 8 glue sticks—80 cents
- 2 canisters of Clorox wipes--$3.25
- 2 bottles of hand sanitizer (8-12 oz.)--$3.96
- 1 pkg. Post-It notes (3”x3”) any color--$1
- 4 erasers (pink pearl or white Magic Rub) $1
- 36 sharpened yellow pencils w/erasers--$6.62
- 1 pencil box (8”x5”x2”) for supplies--$2.97
- 1 box of crayons (24-count only)—50 cents
- 1 pointed scissors--$1.47
- book bag or backpack--$8.88
- 1 Sharpie—black, fine-point—51 cents
- 1 two-pocket folder (bottom pockets)—74 cents
- 1 box Crayola Classic fat markers (10-count)--50 cents
- 3 composition notebooks--$1.50
- Boys--gallon zip-lock bags/Girls sandwich zip-lock bags--$1.00
- Headphones(no ear buds)--$5.88
Total Cost: $46.50
This doesn’t include the cost of a new lunch box, which will add $5.92 for an action hero or princess themed box. Parent’s may also find themselves buying extra supplies for a homework station, unless they have leftover school supplies from last year.
Older students will find even more items on their list.
Some of these items include spiral notebooks, ink pens and highlighters are added in second grade. Binders are added in third grade. Fourth graders need all this plus note cards. Fifth graders can finally drop the crayons and markers, but they need more composition books, graph paper and colored pencils.
The supply list for an average fifth grader is $56.36.
These totals are reflecting the sale price of common back to school items right now at Walmart, like crayons for 50 cents or glue sticks for a dime. We also calculated the cost per item of things sold in larger or smaller quantities than needed. For example, black Sharpies could only be found in packs of four and yellow pencils in packs of 10.
If you shop at other stores you may find better (or more expensive) prices.
Don't forget: The City of Hazelwood will participate in the upcoming tax-free weekend Aug. 3-5. Several area stores will have special deals on school supplies, clothes and electronics.