WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As we make our way into August it’s time for families to prepare kids for the return to the classroom.

Retail experts say that consumers are cutting back in other areas in order to cover the cost of back to school as those supplies will likely be much higher due to inflation.

According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school shopping is ranked among the biggest shopping events for both consumers and retailers, second only to holiday shopping. In a survey done by the organization, 68 percent of respondents said they’re seeing higher prices on school items.

Despite this, back-to-school spending this season is expected to roughly match that of 2021’s set record of $37 billion. This is an $11 billion increase to 2019.

Families with kids elementary through high school age are predicted to spend $864 on school items, a slight increase of about $15 over last year.

“Crazy, ridiculous, everything is so inflated. Everybody is talking about it. A lot of people are doing online shopping, that way you don’t go in the store and get the overinflated prices and buy more than you normally would.”

More than half of all shoppers, 56 percent, began shopping as early as the beginning of July. Experts believe these consumers chose to start spending sooner to find the best deals and to spread out their budget.

For families looking for a way to save, the sales tax holiday is coming up in Massachusetts on August 13 and 14. This is a great time to save on school supplies.