Beat the back-to-school spending blues

Back-to-school can be bittersweet for parents.

Not having to figure out how to keep the kids occupied has many humming, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

However, there’s also filling out endless online and paper forms, buying school supplies and shopping for clothes while guessing how much the kids will grow by spring. That’s not as much fun and can have you quickly singing the blues.

According to the Deloitte 2018 Back-to-School report, parents plan to spend a total of $27.6 billion to send kids back to school this year. Households will spend about $510 on average per child, which is a big hit to your wallet even if you’re only shopping for one.

National Retail Federation data found that electronics and clothing make up nearly two-thirds of a family’s back-to-school spending. The biggest break is found in school supplies, where consumers can expect to shell out $122 for basics like pencils, pens, markers and notebooks.

The best easiest way to fund school on a budget is to slowly stockpile throughout the year (hello Target dollar bins). If it’s too late for this year, here are a few ways you can still save.

Pace yourself: According to, 62% of shoppers who do their back-to-school shopping before August spend about $100 more than those who wait until later. Do your research and find opportunities to put off buying everything at once, especially those high-ticket items like electronics and clothing. Consumer Reports suggests waiting until September or October to replace laptops or tablets for sales that could save you big money.

Look for deals: It’s never been easier to find good deals and comparison shop. You can check out the GroupOn back-to-school discount tab or sites like for coupons. Other sites like or apps like ShopSavvy and CamelCamelCamel can keep you updated on the latest deals on particular items, helping you track when at its lowest price whether on Amazon or at your local retail outlet.

Look for delivery options: Your school may partner with an organization that sells school supplies at a flat price. Teachers provide the list, the company packages the supplies, and the best part? Your child’s box is waiting for them in their classroom on the first day of school. Talk about a time saver! Some stores like Target offer School List Assist, where parents can enter their zip code find their school and class supply list, order items and either have them delivered to their door, curbside at a nearby Target location or for pick-up in the store.


Myriam DiGiovanni

Myriam DiGiovanni

After writing for Credit Union Times and The Financial Brand, Myriam DiGiovanni covers financial literacy for FinancialFeed. She is also a storytelling expert and works with credit unions to help ... Web: Details