Getting children ready to head back to school is getting more expensive.
Parents expect to spend an average $669 on clothing, shoes, electronics and school supplies this year, up 22% from five years ago, according to the National Retail Federation, a Washington trade group.
Students increasingly demand cellphones, tablets and other electronics that are far pricier than pencils and notebooks. Plus, to make up for tight budgets, teachers are asking parents to pay for everything from hand wipes to anti-bacterial soap. The average number of items on school-supply lists jumped by 29% this year to 18, says TeacherLists.com, a national platform that hosts more 500,000 school-supply lists.