Ready or not, the start of the new school year is around the corner.
This back-to-school shopping season, parents — particularly in the low to middle income bracket — are focusing on the basics while also trading down to cheaper stores amid surging inflation, which hit a new 40-year high in June. Such financial struggles mark a big difference from a year ago when many low-income shoppers, flush with government stimulus and buoyed by wage increases, spent freely.
A basket of roughly a dozen supply items showed a price increase of nearly 15% on average for this back-to-school season compared with a year ago, according to retail analytics firm DataWeave. The price of backpacks are up nearly 12% to an average of $70, for example.
For parents and caregivers on a tight budget, here are some of this year's best back-to-school deals.
A cashier scans school supplies for a customer at a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. location in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Thursday, August 6, 2015. Photographer: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The nation’s largest retailer is selling school supplies for as little as 25 cents, and more than 100 back-to-school items are priced at under $1. Walmart has a few back-to-school tech items going for under $100, including a Chromebook, headphones and tablet.
Children’s clothing is also on sale, with some clothing items selling for as little as $3.50.
Customers shop for back to school supplies at a Target Corp. store in Colma, California, U.S., Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Supplies like glue sticks and crayons start at 25 cents, with several other items priced at under $1. The company said most back-to-school supplies are under $10. Target is also extending its Teacher Prep Event through Sept. 10, giving teachers the opportunity to save 15% on school supplies and more.
Amazon Delivery signage is displayed outside an Amazon.com Inc. delivery hub during Amazon Prime Day on July 12, 2022 in Torrance, California. - (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)
Back-to-school supplies from Amazon Basics are up to 20% off, while some school uniforms are selling for more than 50% off. The online retail giant has Sony earbuds on sale for 25% off and an HP desktop computer on sale for $160 off.
There are also deals on Chromebooks, laptops, pens, pencils, erasers and a slew of other back-to-school items.
A Best Buy shopper listens to music on an Apple iPad at Best Buy in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Octavio Jones/Getty Images)
Deals from Best Buy include more than 50% off for an Amazon Fire tablet, $40 off the purchase of a Samsung glossy computer monitor and $30 off of a select webcam. Best Buy members can save hundreds of dollars on Macbooks, laptops, tablets and more.
A man looks at tablet devices at a Staples Inc. store in New York, U.S., Photographer: Paul Taggart/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Staples is selling select school supplies like notebooks, sharpeners and glue sticks starting at 50 cents. Products from 3M office supplies are 50% off, and shoppers can get 35% off of select Sharpie, Paper Mate and Expo items.
A car sits parked in front of an Office Depot Inc. store in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Office Depot’s back-to-school sales include 25% off most backpacks, and up to 60% off of the best-selling school supplies through Saturday, Sept. 10.
Through Saturday, Sept. 24, teachers with an Office Depot/OfficeMax rewards membership can earn 20% back in bonus rewards on a qualifying in-store purchase. Through Saturday, Sept. 10, teachers can get 40% off print services for new classroom posters, student activities and more. To redeem each in-store offer, teachers should present a valid teacher ID, Rewards Member ID and coupon at checkout ().
This story was reported from Seattle. The Associated Press contributed.