RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Among many cost increases, parents are now battling rising prices for school supplies.

The National Retail Federation says inflation is expected to add 40 percent more this year to the cost of school supplies.

The federation says most families will spend nearly $900 this year, and that amount is more than just for pens, pencils and notepads.

Clothing and big-ticket items — like laptop computers — are also part of the equation, so before parents start shopping they should compile a list.

“Jot down the items you need and take stock of the things you have at home,’’ said Nick Hill of the Better Business Bureau of Eastern NC.

“Most importantly, stick to the list because impulse shopping can increase your overall total in a hurry,’’ he added.

Parents also need to do research. The internet makes that easy.

Take backpacks for example. At Walmart online, CBS 17 Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia found backpacks in various styles ranging from $28 to $32.

Target offered a lower starting price at $19 for backpacks, but at the high end, they ranged up to $45.

Because of supply chain issues, Hill said shoppers should move quickly to avoid possible shortages.

“As soon as you know what items you need to get for the upcoming school year — get out and start shopping,’’ he said.

The internet can offer deals but beware of pop-up ads on social media which are often placed there by scammers.

“You can do a quick Google search with the name of the company and add in other things to the search like ‘SCAMS’ to see if there are any reports of websites with fraudulent activities,” Hill said.

Another savings option is bulk buying as a group.

“It may be smart to reach out to other parents to see if you can split the cost of items,” Hill said.

Regarding payments, it’s best to buy with a credit card because the credit card company can help dispute charges if things go awry.

We all know kids are notoriously fickle, so that “Hello Kitty” backpack you got on sale might be passe and now your kid wants a “Sponge Bob SquarePants” backpack instead.

Before you buy, make sure you know the merchant’s return policy, which may have changed recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic.