ST. LOUIS – According to the 2022 Deloitte Back-to-School Survey, spending is expected to reach a new high of $34.4 billion for K-12 students and $28.3 billion for back-to-college shoppers.

Despite more than half of those surveyed saying they are concerned about inflation, spending per student could increase by as much as 8%.

Back to school means back to stores as families stock up for the year ahead. On Sunday, we met shoppers at St. Clair Square taking advantage of Illinois’ tax holiday,

“It’s been beneficial, every dollar that you can save, especially in this economy right now is a dollar that can stretch further for my family,” said parent and teacher Kendra Hopkins.

The economy and inflation are front and center in Deloitte’s 2022 back-to-school survey.

“About 54% of the folks said they were worried about the economic situation getting worse in the next year and about 37% said they were worried about making those payments for school-related items,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman of U.S. Retail and Distribution at Deloitte.

“At the same time, folks are dipping into their savings to make sure kids get the right start back to school. That tells me parents are willing to sacrifice to make sure kids get off on the right foot this year.”

Sides says those surveyed reported turning away from tech and returning to more traditional purchases this year.

“All the spending we saw in recent years as folks were preparing to do school from home, that spending has moderated because a lot of those homes have been outfitted and folks are turning to the school systems to supply that technology,” he said.

Half of those surveyed by Deloitte say they’re concerned about their child’s mental health and 36% have purchased products or services to address this issue.

“It’s good to see parents are attuned to the overall mental health of their kids,” Sides said.

Meanwhile, Hopkins finds spending time mentally preparing your kids to head back to class is just as important as the money you spend filling their backpacks.

“Just bring their positive attitudes and their growth mindset and we’ll worry about the rest,” she said.