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After the holiday season, back-to-school shopping is the second largest spending event of the year.
In total, Americans will spend an estimated $82.8 billion to get grade school and college students ready to learn, according to the National Retail Federation . That’s collective, though. When you break that down by individual families with kids in elementary through high school, the average American’s back-to-school budget is $684.79.
But where is all of that money going to? The survey says back-to-school shoppers plan to spend the biggest chunk ($263.90) on clothing. But on top of that, they’ll use it on the following…
“The biggest change we are seeing in back-to-school spending this year is coming from electronics,” NRF VP Mark Mathews says. “Items like laptops, tablets, and smartphones are now an everyday part of household life and aren’t necessarily a purchase parents save for the start of the school year.”
Only one week apart, two polls were conducted about back-to-school shopping — and both concluded everyone hates it. We’re talking both parents and their children.
“A majority of American parents (75 percent) and teens (73 percent) say back-to-school shopping causes tension,” says eBates .
Most teens complain their parents “wait until the last minute to do the shopping,” while most parents complain their teens “want the name brand when they can only afford the budget item.”
That same exact sentiment was corroborated in the Coinstar Back-to-School Survey released seven dates later . It declares that 70 percent of parents call back-to-school shopping “stressful” because of the peer pressure their children face to buy the latest fashions.
As parents, we often give our children an allowance, which is a tangible way of imparting a crucial lesson: Money doesn’t grow on trees. You only get so much, so spend it wisely.
Back-to-school shopping is so stressful because children want the coolest clothes and gadgets to impress their friends, and they want you to spend your money to make them look cool.
Instead, try this: Give your children a modified allowance for back-to-school shopping.
You may be thinking: “If I give my kid $500, he’ll buy one gadget or one outfit, and no new underwear or notebooks.” That’s why you should modify their allowance.
Basically, you jot down a list of categories your child must cover. As long as they purchase all those items, you’re fine with their selections. However, they must get all those items.
It’s doubtful there will still be stress and tears. Every shopping season is stressful, but nothing beats back-to-school for the generation gap when parents don’t even pretend to understand the importance of the latest status symbols of a new generation.
Our advice: Don’t give in, and you’ll teach your children valuable lessons they won’t appreciate until they’ve graduated.
Most kids around the country head back to school sometime between mid-August and early September, but back-to-school shopping starts earlier every year.
Two-thirds of parents are shopping throughout the summer for school-related products, and those that shop earlier end up spending more money, says a study from consulting firm Deloitte .
Most parents — 60 percent — will start shopping before August, with 11 percent shopping before July! Parents who shop earlier than July spend $100 more than those parents who shop in July. People in many states start shopping earlier to take advantage of sales tax holidays.
Early shoppers and undecided shoppers — those who aren’t sure if they’ll go online or in-store — are the biggest targets of retailers. The earlier you shop, the more you are likely to spend. And the more unsure you are about where you will shop and what you will buy, the more you will blow your budget.
Published by Debt.com, LLC Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: The Average American's Back-to-School Budget, and How to Trim Yours - AMP.