Slumping economy has many cutting back on back-to-school - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Slumping economy has many cutting back on back-to-school

The economy has some parents cutting way back on how much they spend on back-to-school clothes and supplies this year. For shoppers of all sorts, back-to-school means back to basics this year.

"I've been trying to stay away from the novelty folders and that kind of thing. The notebooks that are a lot cheaper than the different character folders and that kind of thing that can run up into money," said Clarksville parent, Mary Dodd.

That's Dodd's strategy to save money on school supplies for her four children. She'll buy the basics, not the fancies. She figures she'll spend about $600 on back-to-school this year.

"I've been surprised. Prices have been pretty decent this year. I can't really see much differences in prices from last year," said Dodd.

But Dodd and other parents are buying less. They blame a tight economy.

"I'm really trying to budget but the gas prices are really a killer," said parent, Casie Friedman.

Prices high enough that Casie Friedman turned to a Salvation Army thrift store for inexpensive jackets and other clothes for her three children.

Same goes for Doug Carter. The store has been busy with a special kids' giveaway all week.

"I'm unemployed right now, so I am definitely looking to save money however I can," said Carter.

"So far we had 1100 kids come through and they each got eight articles of clothing. So that's a lot of clothes to hang and re-hang," said Marcia McCormick, Salvation Army manager.

But more shoppers are buying fewer items, whether at the thrift store or places like Shaheen's in Louisville. Its specialty is school uniforms.

"We've noticed that a lot of people are getting two and three items rather than four or five," said Sam Shaheen Jr.

Sam Shaheen said business at his family's stores and online is down slightly from last year's back-to-school season. Same goes for the Salvation Army in southern Indiana and for Target stores nationally. Other discounters report sales slightly up. But chain department stores like JC Penney and Kohl's, report their sales are down so far this summer.

Generally, they're finding parents are buying the necessities at discounters and staying away from higher-priced clothing. And just about everyone's watching the sale ads closely.

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