Back-to-School Supply Costs Can Add Up Quickly - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/2/05-Tyler

Back-to-School Supply Costs Can Add Up Quickly

Parents dread it. But for kids, it's like Christmas in summer. School supply shopping.

A tedious, but necessary task.

We visited a local store to find out just how much parents can expect to pay this year.

The store was full of them. Mom's surveying the aisles, armed with their child's supply list in hand.

"It happens every year like clock work," said Cindy McDaniel.

"It's a huge headache," said Elaine Finley.

Sometimes that headache gets worse in the checkout line as countless supply items are scanned through.

We used a Tyler ISD supply list for a 5th grade student. The list calls for 15 items. We went with the bare minimum on the list. No electronics or any of the extras.

Scissors, pencils, rulers, markers and crayons. We grabbed a few packs of wide rule notebook paper, some glue, dry erase markers and map pencils and tissue. We rounded out our shopping with a backpack. Though the list didn't call for it, most parents will buy one for each of their kids.

With our cart loaded, we headed to the checkout.

The total: $29.51. Not too bad for the basics if we had only one child.

But, the average American family has three kids, which brings the total to about $90.

Elaine Finley understands. She's a mother of three.

"This is day two and about $150 later," she said.

Money advisors suggest setting a strict budget before you leave the house. It can help stop those "Mommy Can I Have This" speeches as well as take the shock out of your purchase total.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service has these suggestions to ease the back to school shock on your pocketbook.

Inventory items you already have. This will save you from buying the same things year after year.

If possible, pay with cash, leave the checkbook and credit cards at home.

Last suggestion, do not wait until the last minute. Advisors said that leads to inefficient and haphazard buying.

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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