COVID-era virtual school supplies come with real spike in spending

Back-to-school shopping is looking different for many families this year, thanks to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With the 73 of the 100 largest U.S. school districts opting for remote learning this fall, backpacks are out – and Bluetooth headphones and Chromebooks are in.

That’s upending the budgets for many families and helps explain why back-to-school spending is set to break a record in 2020. Households with children in kindergarten through 12th grade will spend an average of almost $790 per family this year – a record as well as 13% higher than a year earlier, according to National Retail Federation, a trade group.

That jibes with the experiences of several families in Houston, the nation’s 9th largest school district, who shared their experiences with USA Today. When the city’s schools switched to online learning this spring due to the pandemic, many parents relied on makeshift arrangements, such as turning the

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22 back-to-school supplies for at-home learning and the classroom

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The new school year looks a lot different for families all over the country. While some students are heading back to the classroom, others are settling into homeschooling. Either way, back-to-school supply lists are also shifting to include items that will help kids of all ages approach the school year safely.

Whether your kids are learning virtually or going away to college, now is a great time to pick up must-have essentials to prep for the fall semester.

The Shop TODAY team rounded up some of the best products to add to your back-to-school shopping list. From the back-to-school basics and home learning essentials

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15 top-rated school supplies under $15

15 top-rated school supplies under $15
15 top-rated school supplies under $15

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.                

Binders, backpacks, folders, pencils, notebooks—school-supply shopping can be fun and exciting but the costs can also add up fast. Whether your child is heading back into the classroom in the fall or continuing remote learning, there are a lot of essentials they’ll need (see above list for starters). To help you save money on this year’s back-to-school haul, we’ve rounded up 15 of the best school supplies you can buy right now for less than $15, from colorful InkJoy gel pens to the best-selling notebooks on Amazon—including a few personal favorites I remember using from my own school days.

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