It's hard to believe it, but it's that time again. Massachusetts students are heading back to school.

While Massachusetts public schools head back to school much later than other states (some districts in states like Arizona, Alabama, and Mississippi, among others, are back in school in late July) it always feels like September comes way too soon. Parents are likely thrilled, but the students, not so much.

If there is one thing I loved about summer ending as a child, was looking forward to back-to-school shopping. The prospect of new clothes, new shoes, a new backpack, and new school supplies made me giddy, the only catch was, I never got all that! Don't get me wrong, my parents would take me shopping, but only for what I NEEDED never what I WANTED, a recurring theme throughout my childhood. We absolutely never went without in my household, but my parents were frugal people and if your backpack wasn't falling apart (which they made sure would never happen because of L.L. Beans' lifetime warranty) there was no shot you were getting a new one. So needless to say, in the height of the Abercrombie & Fitch explosion of the early 2000s, there were no overpriced A&F t-shirts in our closets.

The point of that little trip down memory lane is that school shopping is expensive! Households across Massachusetts feel the crunch of sending their child back to school between clothes and the list of school supplies parents are responsible for that seems to grow each year.

How Much Does the Average Massachusetts Family Spend on Back-to-School Shopping?

According to the National Retailers Association, in 2023, the average family is expected to spend $864 on back-to-school shopping. That's about a $15 increase over last year. The average family has two (technically 1.93) children, so think about how much more that would go up in larger households.

While back to school has always been big business for retailers, experts say inflation plays a huge factor in these costs. 2022 back-to-school shopping set a record of $37 billion, which is an $11 billion increase from 2019. $11 million increase in TWO YEARS.


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