It's Back-to-School Shopping Time

Does back-to-school shopping bust your budget? Here are some tips to teach your kids & teens to stay on budget.

What ‘s your budget this year for your kids and teens back-to-school clothing, supplies and electronics?

I know for my family, we will try to re-use from last year where we can and limit our new purchases to what we really need. I always start our shopping trips at home by making the kids try on their fall clothes to see what still fits and what they will still wear! They usually need new shoes and sneakers but most times, they can still wear the majority of their jeans, sweaters and jackets.

Each year the National Retail Federation conducts a survey of Back-to-School and Back-to-College spending. This is the second biggest retail event behind the holidays so the retailers are working hard to get you to spend!

Here are a few highlights from the 2011 NRF survey from their web site:

  • Combined back-to-school and back-to-college sales will reach $68 billion.
  • The average family of K-12 students plans to spend about $600 on back-to-school items, nearly identical to last year.
  • College students and their parents will spend about $800 on average this year, down about $30 from last year.
  • Half of consumers say they’ll shop for sales more often to compensate for the economy and over a third will be using coupons more often.


So, what can you do to keep within your budget?

  1. Get your kids and teens involved in the budget up-front so they can learn the budgeting process. For teens, you can have them do the shopping (with your guidance).
  2. Shop your own closet and supplies first – reuse, reduce, recycle!
  3. Look for sales pre & post season and work the coupons and consumer loyalty programs.
  4. Comparison shop – both stores and on-line research.
  5. If your kids or teens “want” that new pair of designer jeans or that new electronic toy (smart phone or tablet), help them to decide if it is really something they want or need. If they still want it, work with them to set a goal to achieve the purchase: save up their allowance, wait for birthday or holiday money, or you can decide to match a dollar amount that they save for the purchase.


As parents, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” but it doesn’t have to bust your budget.

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Michelle Cadeau August 20, 2011 at 12:25 PM
The best way of shopping,especially for younger school kids and basics for older, is to shop the season before. So now I would shop summer clothes (swim trunks, tees, shorts etc) for NEXT summer. I get t-shirts (brand names included) for anything from $1 - 4) Swim pants are 50% of the sale etc etc. My sons whole wardrobe for this summer (included A&F, Tommy Hillfiger, GAP and also Old Navy) cost me about $30. I buy the basics and then when that season comes I can still by a few 'in' items and still come out way a head. It takes some planning but works great! Also, start (next summer) to buy your back to school supplies through out the summer (look at the Circulars) I bought all my kids (going into 2 & $th grades) school supplies under $7! Happy shopping!


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