Inflation is expected to hit back-to-school budgets hard this year – far exceeding last year’s record-breaking $37.1 billion spend, according to the National Retail Federation.

With the drastic price increase in school supply items, Keith Lobis with Wells Fargo Colorado says parents and families should prepare budgets earlier than usual to ease financial stress as much as possible.

He suggests writing a budget, buying in bulk, shopping around to different stores, online or brick and mortar. Another tip, involve your children, encouraging them to find the lowest prices for school supply items.

Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend more than $850 on back-to-school supplies, clothing and technology this year, while college students and their families plan to spend more than $1,200 on items outside of tuition and books.