JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Many parents in Eastern North Carolina are already working on back-to-school shopping with the summer quickly coming to an end. However, that shopping may come with a little sticker shock.

Parents might have to put things back on the shelves while shopping this year in order to afford all that they need. 

“This time last year, we were looking at 9% year-over-year inflation. This year, we’re looking at 3%. So what most parents should probably see is higher prices, but not that shock that we had last year when the higher prices were almost a double-digit rate,” said NC State University Reynolds Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Dr. Mike Walden.

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Although prices won’t be through the roof, Walden said it still might be difficult to afford if you haven’t seen a recent pay increase.

“Prices have gone up about 9% faster than people’s wages have gone up, so that means people have gotten poorer, their dollars don’t go as far,” he added.

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One mom in Jacksonville, Heather Klee, said that she’s been able to get her supplies at bargain stores or by buying in bulk.

“I’ve gone to Dollar Tree, I’ve gone to Five Below, I’ve done most of my bulk shopping on Amazon because I do have six and a lot of their school supplies are similar,” said Klee.

Another shopper, Alreda Sanders, said she spreads it out throughout the year, so she doesn’t break the bank all at once. 

“I have nine grandkids to shop for so one month I shop for this family, and the next month I shop for the next family, and the next month I shop for the other family so that way when school time starts or when it’s near, I just packed up the stuff and give it to each family,” said Sanders.

Another tip for back-to-school shoppers is to use coupons.

“I’m a big couponer too, so I just watch the sales,” said Klee. “Even with the back-to-school supplies shopping, when they do release the sales, I still compare.”

There are also many back-to-school giveaways throughout NC where parents can also get supplies if they need them.