How to Save on Back-to-School Expenses for Remote Learning

September 1, 2020

With COVID-19 still gripping the country, manhy teachers are having to decide on new ways to keep themselves and students safe while returning to a school year that's as normal as possible.

Some parents around the country are preparing for children to learn remotely, which means creating a budget for school supplies and technology.

According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school expenses are expected to increase by almost 30% this year compared to 2019, a $33.9 billion record.

Farnoosh Torabi, a financial expert and contributing editor to, told "Good Morning America" that some districts say they will provide laptops and calculators, but supplies are limited. This means many families will have to budget for buying these items.

According to a back-to-school survey from Deloitte, 38% of shoppers say they worry about money when it comes to purchasing school supplies.

Here are ways to save on all of those expenses while your child starts remote learning.

Meal Savings

As people flocked to grocery stores amid the pandemic, prices of certain essential items - like milk, eggs, meat, and cereal - have skyrocketed.

According to data from the Labor Department, the amount of money consumers have spent on groceries jumped by 2.6% in April as the coronavirus pandemic hit its peak. This is the largest increase in spending since February 1974.

One resource parents can use are local food rescues. Organizations like these are proving to be crucial for food banks during the pandemic. Families can find a local food bank by searching their zip code at

Technology Savings

According to the survey from Deloitte, families are expected to pay an average of $400 for technology supplies.

"For more affordable laptops and technology, shop the refurbished section, where you can usually get 15% off gently used items that often still carry a warranty," Torabi said.

If you’re looking for well-priced technology, Walmart, Staples and Best Buy are among stores that offer sales for technology.

School Supply Savings

More than 17% of parents say it has been difficult to buy school supplies during the pandemic due to high prices. Torabi says when getting your shopping list together, you’re probably going to overspend if you guess what your child may need. The best thing to do is to contact the teacher and ask what the students will specifically need. "Buy enough for the first couple of months and replenish on an as-needed basis to curb spending," Torabi added.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram