CHARLOTTE, N.C. — School supply drives are in full swing as students prepare to head back to class next month.
This year, families are expecting to pay more as a result of higher prices and inflation. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), 84% of families are expecting to see higher prices when back-to-school and back-to-college shopping this year.
“We have very, very, very strong consumer financial positions, particularly for middle to high-income earners,” Mark Mathews, NRF Vice President of Research Development and Industry Analysis, said. “So there’s a lot of concern about what’s going on, but there’s also an ability to spend above and beyond the levels of inflation that we’re seeing.”
But for those who make less money, this back-to-school shopping season could be a struggle.
According to the NRF, on average families are planning to spend $864 on school necessities.
For those making $50,000 or less, 32% said they’re having to borrow money or go into debt to help cover expenses right now, according to NRF data.
“For lower-income consumers, that is, you know, much more of a problem,” Mathews said. “You know, they are struggling. These are necessities. They have to buy them, but they have to look to other sources of funding to afford that.”
NRF data shows consumers are switching to cheaper alternatives or looking for more coupons and sales to score a deal as prices remain high.
“I would suspect that we do see people kind of hunting around a little bit more this year as they are looking for kind of the best prices and things like that,” Katherine Cullen, NRF Senior Director of Industry and Consumer Insights, said.
Local organizations in the Charlotte area are asking people to think of a child in need as this school year gets closer and pick up some extra supplies to donate.
Here are some locations and events where school supplies can be dropped off:
- Classroom Central 2116 Wilkinson Boulevard, Charlotte, NC 28208
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- Gaston County Library Main Branch 1555 East Garrison Boulevard, Gastonia, NC 28054. Accepting donations through Aug. 18. (No backpacks requested)
- Second Annual Queen City School Supply Drive; Heist Brewery & Barrel Arts. 1030 Woodward Ave, Charlotte, NC 28206 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Aug. 21
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