Back to School: Springing for Supplies

Back to School: Springing for Supplies

HIGH POINT, N.C. — It’s about that time of year again for back-to-school shopping. But in 2021, things are going to be a little different.

“We couldn’t go back-to-school shopping last year because of the pandemic,” parent Toby Blair said. “It was much easier not to go back-to-school shopping because we didn’t spend as much money, the kids just stayed in the house pretty much.”


What You Need to Know

It’s been nearly two years since parents went back-to-school shopping

Numbers are expected to be way up compared to last year

Toby Blair and his wife Opal have four children, and this year’s prices caught them off-guard


Blair and his wife Opal are both educators in the Guilford County Schools system. They have four kids between them, so shopping for everyone is an adventure.

There’s some anxiety after families couldn’t hit the stores last year because of the pandemic.

“After two years, it’s hectic, man,” Blair said. “First, we had to make sure we had money saved aside for it, that’s the first thing.”

“We’re starting from scratch,” Opal Blair said.

Money is a big subject for most families this season, and every penny counts.

“How much are these?” Toby Blair asked while holding up a shirt. “These are two for $20, so they’re making them $10 apiece.”

The Blair family isn’t alone.

The professional service company Deloitte reported that the average parent in North Carolina is spending more than $750 per child this year in back-to-school supplies.

It also said that 49% of parents expect to spend more than last year, and overall back-to-school spending in North Carolina is projected to be more than $1.1 billion

“(We’re) trying to know what’s good for a sale and what’s not,” Blair said. “Some of the prices are just shhhh … I wasn’t expecting some of these prices, honestly.”

The prices are up, but parents don’t have much of a choice since most children have outgrown their clothes and supplies.

And the Blairs have to spend a little more than the average family.

“Shopping for four kids is a beast,” Blair said. “If only we had to shop for one, that’d be great, but shopping for four is maybe like half a paycheck.”

But for their kids, it’s a burden the Blairs don’t mind bearing.

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