Summer vacation. It’s time for children to get a break from studies, hang out with friends, sit by the pool and get into all kinds of trouble. In other words, the summer was a blast, but parents are ready for the fall to start and it is fast approaching. But, before your kids get back to staring at chalkboards all day, you’ll have to survive all the back to school shopping.
This year total family spending will be a record $83.8 billion. How much of this giant bill is your family’s share will depend on how you stack up against the average family spending on back-to-school shopping.
Average Spending on Grade School Versus College
I know that this is going to shock you, but families spend more on a student attending college than one attending grade school (as if the $50 they got for graduation wasn’t enough; humph). How much more?
The average, proud family of a college student will spend $929.35. The average parent with children in grades k-12 is going to cut a check for $688.62.
Women Beat Men…Again…Always
I’ll stop pointing out that women are better at budgeting and shopping than men when I start seeing different numbers in these surveys. The average mother plans on spending $640.42 on their children. Fathers have a budget about 15 percent larger with an average planned expense of $739.75.
The big reason?
More women than men plan on shopping at discount stores. More men than women will shop at department stores and electronic stores. In other words, your dad is getting you a smart phone while your mom is buying you something you actually need in college.
What Percent of Back-to-School Spending Should be Your Child’s?
The good news? This post is all about average family spending on back-to-school spending. Since the definition of family includes the children, there must be a children’s budget and there is.
Kids 13-17 are planning on spending $31.64 or 4.6 percent of the average family budget. Children 6-12 are raiding the piggy bank for $25.63 or 3.7 percent of what total family spending will be.
Your school-aged child is also going to tell what to buy and you are going to buy it. Nearly two-thirds of parents plan on giving their child a 50 percent say in what they buy. The goes to…grandma?
Most Popular Back-to-School Items by Total Expense
Wrapping your child up in cotton fibers is more expensive ever since that society invented brand names. This explains why clothing takes the top spot for largest expense in the average family budget at an average of $246.10. That’s more than a third of the total average budget.
Electronics came in second with a planned budget of $217.88. About 60 percent of parents plan on buying their child something digital.
Bring up the two least favorite gifts? Shoes are a planned expense of $129.20. Meanwhile, paper pens, notebook and backpacks will necessitate a cost of $95.44. Yes, actual school supplied is less than a sixth of the overall average budget.
All snark aside, back-to-school shopping is a big expense and you definitely don’t need to spend as much as the average family if you know how to plan and shop. You can keep this year’s shopping off the monthly credit card bill by starting early, looking for deals and cutting coupons.
$700 is excessive. Be a smart shopper and save the difference for college tuition.
Is the average family back-to-school bill excessive? How does your back-to-school budget compare? What should families do to keep their budget slim and manageable?
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