Families spend less on back-to-school shopping when they budget for it

School expenses are going up, but most parents are prepared for the spike.

Coinstar says more than half of parents shop with a back-to-school budget and expect a rise in expenses this year. The good news is that parents are working the extra expenses into their budget.

Nearly half — 49 percent — of parents in the survey say they expect to pay between $100 and $300 per child this year, while another 27 percent plan to spend anywhere between $300 and $500 each. The biggest expense? Clothes.

Fifty-seven percent of respondents say clothes are their largest budgeted expense, with school supplies taking a distant second at 18 percent. Sandi Stoller, a Coinstar director, says Americans have more hidden money that they probably realize.

“Seventy-one percent of survey respondents reported that they save coins in a jar or container at home for future use,” Stoller says. “Most people have more than they think and these hidden funds can easily be applied to school supplies, clothing or other back-to-school items.”

Costs going up, but are shoppers spending less?

As parents increase their budgets for back-to-school shopping, some are working on spending less this year.

Technology developer Branding Brands says most shoppers — 53 percent — will keep their budgets the same this year, but a full 25 percent are looking to spend less than they did last year. That may be because they have some leftover supplies that they don’t want to load up on too many extras. It could also mean they aren’t buying as many new clothes for their kids that other parents expect to purchase.

Regardless of the reasoning, one-in-four parents planning on paying less this year — despite most expecting a rise in costs — is a high number.

Location doesn’t matter, but technology does

As parents and students alike are looking for the best one-stop shop, retailers are competing for their dollars. Branding Brand says Target and Walmart are the go-to retailers for 18-to-24-year-olds, with 64 percent of shoppers heading to these stores. Amazon will see less shoppers, with 50 percent going to the online retailers.

But that doesn’t mean online shopping is down. Nearly 80 percent of shoppers will buy clothes or supplies online, while two-thirds of shoppers will make purchases straight from their phones. If they do head in-store, 18 percent will buy using Apple Pay.

Kids spend money, but how do they earn it?

In Coinstar’s survey, parents shared how they reward their children for good grades. A near majority of respondents, or 47 percent, gush to family and friends about their child’s marks, and 27 percent actually give out cash rewards for good grades.

More than a third of kids get a special gift, like a phone or bike, while only 14 percent will receive deposits into their savings or college funds. This number is fairly low, but not surprising. Parents don’t know enough about personal finance to teach their kids, so saving for college is not on their top list of money-related priorities. Because of their own financial limitations, they have a hard time teaching their children about money, whether it’s savings, budgeting, or investing.


Meet the Author

Dori Zinn

Dori Zinn


Zinn is a freelance journalist based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Budgeting & Saving, Family

back to school, budgeting, infographic, parents, save money

Related Posts

Article last modified on December 11, 2017 Published by Debt.com, LLC . Mobile users may also access the AMP Version: Bring Your Budget Back to School - AMP.