BOSTON (WHDH) - From pencils and paper to books and backpacks…nearly everything on the school supply list is more expensive this year.

Lisa Lineweaver, a school principal in Chelsea, knows that can make back-to-school shopping stressful.

“If you go to your shopping place and can’t find the things you need, don’t panic,” Lineweaver says.

She says keep calm – schools will work with you if supplies are too expensive or out of stock.

“If you can’t find a pre-sharpened number 2 Ticonderoga pencil or you couldn’t find the marble notebooks – don’t worry about it. We will work with you or you can always get it later when the shelves filled back up,” she says.

With inflation and surging prices – families are making adjustments.

“There’s a lot of shuffling happening in back-to-school budgets this year with parents trying to make room for those things that are essential and maybe spend less in those categories that are less essential or just maybe optional,” says Kristin McGrath, the editor of the Real Deal by RetailMeNot.

According to the National Retail Federation, nearly one-third of consumers are cutting back in other areas to pay for school supplies this year.

And families are expected to spend, on average, $168 more on school stuff than they did in 2019.

But there are things you can do to keep that number as low as possible.

“Buy in bulk can be smart, especially if you have multiple children, so Costco, Sam’s Club, even Amazon has some bulk purchases when it comes to pens, folders, things like that,” McGrath says.

Reward programs can help with that math too.

“We’ve seen a pattern of retailers offering exclusive savings to people in their rewards program, so to avoid missing out on any savings, it’s really smart to join those rewards programs, McGrath says.

And don’t forget to shop around.

“Just make sure you’re leaving yourself open to price comparisons you can do that on your phone just as easily, if you’re in the store looking at something, it’s a little more than you’d like to pay, do a quick comparison on your phone, see where else you can get it,” McGrath says.

As your kids get ready to head back to class remember this key lesson:

The most important thing in the classroom is the students.

The most important thing you’re sending to school on the first day is your child, ready to learn,” says Principal Lineweaver.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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