Back-to-school spending to decrease this year

Kristyn Soltis

Students try to save by recycling old supplies

A little girl stands in the back-to-school aisle of Wal-Mart with her mother picking through boxes of new folders for the school year. The mother tells her child the folders should match the notebooks for each subject.

The little girl doesn’t seem to care as she shuffles about the aisle, not paying attention to her mother who insists on coordinating colors.

Betty Carlisle, a first-grade teacher, said that while elementary schools create a mandatory supply list, students still have the option to pick out supplies to fit their personalities.

“Some kids like to pick out their own notebook with whatever color and theme to make it more personalized,” Carlisle said.

While Kent State students are not in first grade, some are still conscious of the colors and patterns of notebooks, but most of all, the prices of the items contribute to what students choose.

A report by IBISWorld, a research company, found that back-to-school spending will decline in nearly every category since last year. Clothing is down 5.4 percent, footwear is down 4.4 percent and electronics are down 1.8 percent. However, sales of more traditional school supplies such as notebooks, pencils and folders are expected to stay about the same.

In an attempt to prove the statistics wrong some retailers are offering back-to-school supply specials.

Staples, an office supply chain, has lowered prices on 250 back-to-school items. The retailer also offers Staples-brand school supplies, which typically cost less than national brands.

Junior nursing major Tabitha Diamond saves money by recycling supplies from previous years.

“Since I’ve been in college, I’ve been recycling all my school supplies like folders, pens and binders, but I hate shopping for it anyway because it’s always so crowded, and there’s never what you’re looking for because it’s so picked-through. I did used to love going when I was little, like it was an event or something,” Diamond said.

Diamond said she loved getting new Lisa Frank folders and scented markers.

Samantha Jones, junior interior design major, waits to go back-to-school shopping until the school year begins.

“I usually wait until classes start so that I don’t buy a bunch of supplies that I don’t need, but I always buy the things that I know I will use, and it usually makes me feel more prepared,” Jones said.

Carlisle suggests all students buy school supplies before the beginning of the year.

“When you’re physically out there buying, you’re mentally preparing to get back to school,” Carlisle said. “It’s a good mental preparation. It’s also being respectful of other people’s supplies. You really should be responsible for walking in and being ready with the basics.”

Contact principal reporter Kristyn Soltis at [email protected].