School Budget Cuts Make Parents Overspend on Supplies

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—School budget cuts will impact back-to-school spending this year, according to a new study.

A Capital One Financial Corporation survey found that about 59% of parents say the amount of money they plan to spend on back-to-school shopping this year is impacted by current economic concerns while 42% of parents say their spending will be impacted by school budget cuts.

"Parents are feeling the effects of the economy and school budget cuts," said Shelley Solheim, director of financial education at Capital One. "As more parents are being asked to contribute basic classroom supplies, families are having to plan ahead and re-think their back-to-school shopping habits."

While only 33% of parents say they talk to their kids about money more than once a week, a whopping 49% are planning to shop for back-to-school items at discount retailers while 70% of parents report they are shopping throughout the summer and starting early to score deals.

"The silver lining is that parents are talking more with their kids about shopping expectations, priorities and needs versus wants," said Solheim. "These are sometimes tough conversations to have for both parents and teens but extremely important as many teens are looking to their parents for information on money management topics like budgeting and saving."

The good news is that teens have an appetite for financial education with 52% saying they want to learn more about how to manage their money. About 80% of teens are particularly interested in learning more about basic personal finance topics such as budgeting compared to 67% who want to learn about investing.

5 Tips for Making the Most of Back to School Shopping

  • 1. About 21% of parents haven't talked to their kids about back-to-school shopping at all. Sit down with your teen to make a list of what your teen already has, what they need and how much you can spend.
  • 2. Use back-to-school shopping as an opportunity to teach your teen how to comparison shop. Ask your teen to research competing prices online to see how they fit with the budget before heading to the store.
  • 3. Consider asking your teen to contribute money to purchasing school supplies and other necessities throughout the year. Discuss how much they may contribute and work it into your budget. Once you set a budget, stick to it.
  • 4. The next time your teen gets a windfall, a gift from grandparents, allowance or a part-time job, ask him if he has a plan for his money. If not, talk about things he might want to save for and how he can create his own budget.
  • 5. Teach your kids how to write checks, balance a budget and pay bills on time. This gives teens an idea of how much utilities and other necessities, like auto insurance, will cost them as adults.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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