Back to school shopping is getting harder on parents' pocketbooks. Its estimated that parents will spend almost 20 percent more on back to school supplies this year than last year.
News on 6 reporter Jeninfer Loren found some shoppers stocking up on dorm room supplies. Thatâ€™s where prices are hitting hardest. There are the common back to college items like calculators, alarm clocks, extra long sheets and comforters. And then there are those uncommon must-haves: OU soap dispensers, bean bag chairs. How about a twisty lamp or a psychedelic trash can?
This is the time for college-bound freshmen to make their hauls. Like Kristin Newport, she will be a freshman at OSU. "I've bought sheets and a bed spread and pillows and stuff for my desk, bulletin boards and just a bunch of new stuff. So I'm really excited. "Excited because she's not paying for it. So how much is this costing you mom? Kristenâ€™s mom, Becky: "I don't know, several hundred dollars that's for sure."
Retailers are excited too. Where there's a back to school section, there's a mountain of money to be made. Bed Bath and Beyond loves back to college time. Jeremy Stevens: "We call it our first Christmas."
In fact, the National Retail Federation reports back-to- school sales are second only to holiday sales. That's in part because the average college freshman will spend more than twelve hundred dollars this year to gear up. They say families will spend 18% more than last year. "A lot of times, regardless of the customer's income level they're going to try and outfit their son or daughters room in the best possible way."
These days, back to school stuff includes the latest technology, computers and electronics, like the popular Ipod. And with all that new technology come new must-have accessories, like a backpack. Itâ€™s wired for an Ipod with all the controls. That backpack is $60, three times more than a regular backpack.
Its those sort of investments that make college-bound prerequisites more costly now than ever before. But parents shouldn't worry too much. The National Retail Federation also says college expenses are cut in half by the beginning of students' junior years.