The National Retail Foundation reports that, thanks to more American kids entering elementary and middle school, total back-to-school spending should reach $83.8 billion.
The average parent with kids in grades K-12 will spend $688 this year, up from $603 last year. Add college students to the mix and U.S. families might be up for a serious case of sticker shock when they walk out of the mall or log off from their favorite online shopping site in the next few weeks.
“When it comes to their children, there’s nothing more important to a parent than making sure their children have everything they need, even in a tough economy – and especially when it comes to back-to-school shopping,” notes NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Backpacks rip, pencils break and children grow, there’s no way around it, but as they begin tackling their shopping lists, parents will make sure to spend smarter than they ever have before. We fully expect retailers to be aggressive with their promotions both in-store and online, keeping an eye on inventory levels as families look to spread out their shopping throughout the entire summer.”
How can parents save a buck or two during the back-to-school shopping derby? The debt management firm Freedom Financial Network is out with a list of “must-do” tips for families facing a back-to-school shopping excursion or two.