(WWLP) – In preparation for back to college, consumers normally spend a lot of money on essentials. How much money is invested in electronics, clothes, shoes, and supplies before the start of college?

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), college students and their families plan to spend $1,199 on average. The total spending for college students was estimated to reach $74 billion. This is an $19.5 billion increase since 2019.

Credit: NRF and Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Across western Massachusetts over 730 students have already moved into Western New England University, hundred others have also arrived at American International College. While, those at Amherst College students move in this weekend.  

As college students settled into their new dorms this week, dorm/apartment furnishes were a big spending point. NRF indicates that $10 billion is expected to have gone into dorm/ apartment furnishes. However, the amount of money spent on electronics tops it with $18 billion. While $10 billion is also to go towards clothes, electronics, dorm/ apartment furnishes, and clothing were the top categories, American families will invest in for college.

Credit: NRF and Prosper Insights and Analytics.

The costs for college this year were covered by consumers either borrowing money/going into debt, taking out additional credit cards, using buy now/pay later, working overtime or taking on additional hours or cutting back in other areas.

The following graphic are these categories broken down into percentages. Each percentage represents the number of people represented for each category.

Credit: NRF and Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Due to the state of the economy, consumers are shopping for sales more often, doing more comparative shopping online, buying more store brand/generic products, and making do with last year’s school items, according to NRF. Their next expense will be books, if not already purchased.

According to a Education Data 2022 report, the average college textbook costs about $105.37. The average full-time, in-state undergraduate student at a four-year public university pays $1,226 in one academic year for books and supplies because of a 43.6% decline in spending on course materials over ten years. However, the report indicated that 25% of students worked extra hours to pay for their books and materials. In order to afford books and course materials, 11% skipped meals.

Education Data offers students the following advice to saving on books:

  • Apply for book scholarships
  • Use your tax credit
  • Check for open educational resources
  • Looking for discounts or access programs
  • Buying prior editions
  • Looking for global or international editions
  • Buy used or rental books
  • Share books
  • Ask ahead or wait to buy

These essential items are only a fraction of the total expenses college students incur. Other expenses include tuition and fees. According to a White House statement/release, new actions are to be announced by the Department of Education in the upcoming weeks on claiming relief, following President Biden’s announcement of student loan debt relief for low to middle-income borrowers. In addition, to keeping the costs of college under control for new and current students.