With students in Santa Maria returning to class this week, parents are feeling an additional strain when taking up the yearly task of buying their children new school supplies and clothes.
"Shopping has been going alright. Just the prices are going up," said Michael Gomez, a dad who was shopping at Kohl's with family on Monday.
"It is harder this year than it was in previous years," added local mother Denisse Martinez.
Gomez says his daughter will be starting kindergarten this week. He says the new experience also comes with the reality of new expenses.
"The first thing we got was a backpack, and it was a little pricey," Gomez said.
"I have seen an increase, maybe like a dollar from last year to this year," Martinez told KSBY. "It sounds like a dollar is nothing, but if you add up the pants, the shirt, the socks, the underwear and so on, it adds up."
The staff at Achievement House Thrift Store in Santa Maria say they have noticed the higher prices at local retailers. They add that in recent weeks, they have also seen more parents stopping at their store for deals.
"We have been doing a sale of $1 clothing for back-to-school and we are not just limiting that to students but for everybody," said Brittany Bruno, Achievement House IP Case Coordinator.
"It is really affordable for them. Like especially during the pandemic, the prices were really high," added Andrea Shaw, Achievement House client.
However, as some local schools require specific uniforms for their students, parents say shopping secondhand is not always so simple.
"For uniforms for back-to-school, I have noticed that the kids, especially the boys' pants, the knees are worn out from most of those clothes that are donated," Martinez said. "So if you need to alter, you are spending money on altering."
Achievement House Thrift Store says their staff checks donated clothes for holes and stains and ensure they are in good condition before they are hung up in the store.
The $1 clothing campaign continues through Friday.