Back-to-School Costs Up 5 Percent from Last Year

Updated: 08/19/2014 6:53 PM
Created: 08/19/2014 6:52 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 News) -- If you've already done your back to school shopping, you know the kind of bite all those notebooks, calculators, crayons and glue sticks can take out of the household budget.

For some households that bite is more than the budget can handle.

“You always have the expenses of all the school supplies that we have, but also you have the clothing, lunch money," said Lt. Laura Amick of the Austin Salvation Army.

The National Retail Federation says it’s going to cost an average family $670 this year to send the kids back to school. That’s about five percent higher than last year.

Next week, the Austin Salvation Army will hold its annual school supply distribution.

"We have about 150 kids, and there are 68 families, so there's quite a need," Amick told us.

"When you purchase something in bulk such as 400 pencil boxes, they are certainly a lot cheaper than going out to a store and purchasing one," said Principal Jessica Cabeen at Austin’s Woodson Kindergarten Center.

And that's why more schools are charging parents an annual supply fee. At Woodson Kindergarten Center, that fee is $25.

"With that fee you're getting those school supplies, you're getting your field trips and also your end of year tee-shirts, all wrapped into one," Cabeen told us. “And then all they need to do is have their child have a backpack the first day, and everything else is taken care of."

And for some families, buying school supplies -- especially for more than one child -- might mean having to do without something else.

"If we can help families with this or the food shelf or whatever it is, we can help with, it gives them that little extra to buy clothes or other things they need for back-to-school,” Amick said.

Photo: MGN