Families facing extra costs with back-to-school shopping and inflation

As the back to school shopping season gets underway, parents are adjusting their shopping lists given inflation. Edward Djan has more.

It’s often one of the most expensive shopping occasions for families — Back-to-School — and as the cost of living continues to rise, some parents are adapting their shopping list.

Charlene Wilson is a mother of four children, and while one of her kids is in university, that still leaves three-school aged children all in need of new supplies for the return to the classroom.

“It’s just really hard when you’re a single parent and just trying to make it day by day with these inflation,” Wilson explained.

“In the area that we are in, it’s low income and when it comes to starting the school year, you have to buy school clothes, the runners, school fees, lunch fees.”

Winnipeg-based non-for-profit Family Dynamics runs a yearly donation drive for backpacks, shoes, lunch bags and water bottles.

Anita Preston, a family community development coordinator at the organization’s Woodydell Family Resource Centre, has been seeing an increase.

“We’ve done this a few years and we seem to be ramping up every year, getting a little bit bigger, bigger, because the need is increasing. We are asking for backpacks, lunch bags, runners,” said Preston.

While there is no cap on the number of backpacks wanted, last year there was a goal for 35 backpacks to be donated at Woodydell. That now has increased to 50 this year.

“Being able to get free backpacks for the kids really easies up some financial struggle with the families here as well, so that extra money can go into the runners instead. So it just kind of makes a balance for us and we know our kids’ needs are being met for the first day of school.”

While a majority of Canadians are expected to spend either the same as they did last year or more according to the Retail Council of Canada, more parents are focused on just the basics this year.

“Canadians are still speeding, they’re spending on necessities and when they need to, they’re just being more mindful and more careful in terms of what they spend. And that ties to stationary being the number of spending category for this back to school season,” said Michelle Wasylyshen.

CityNews reached out to all school divisions in Winnipeg to see if any of them charged a flat fee in exchange for buying school supplies for students.

Most were unable to get back in time for broadcast, but the Seven Oaks School Division did confirm their fee has gone up from $35 last year to $40 this year.

For parents like Wilson, rising costs when it comes to back to school means planning starts earlier.

“With inflation for everything, I find that I have to put a little savings aside just to make sure that my kids’ needs are met when school starts.”

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today