What is the average family spending on back-to-school shopping this year?

by jolyn on September 7, 2010

in Kids' Expenses

Another poll on USAA recently asked,

“What will the average family spend on back-to-school shopping this year?”

The choices:

  1. $167
  2. $490
  3. $606
  4. $732

What say you?

This is how the votes played out when I cast mine today:

Your vote $490
Your vote $606
Your vote $732

And the winner is….


“According to a recent study by the National Retail Federation, the average American family will spend $606 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics for children in grades K-12. Total back-to-school spending for 2010 is expected to reach $21.35 billion nationally, and when you add college, that figure skyrockets to $55.12 billion.”


Makes my $142.99 seem downright paltry. Of course, I didn’t have any shoes, clothes, or even so much as a calculator in that amount. (Hey, that’s what fingers are for, eh?)

I’m not sure what “electronics” would be included in that amount: ipods? Notebooks? Calulators? They can run expensive for the die-hard geek. (And I mean that with all my love.)

Shoes? Clothes? Now we’re probably talking. If parents are shopping regular retail for “must-have” name-brand clothing, that will bring up the numbers and fast: for every parent spending $50 on second-hand “must-have” name-brand clothing, another one is spending $500, I’m sure.

How are your school expenses adding up now that the year is actually underway?

My kids have been in school for almost two (incomplete) weeks now. I still haven’t spent any extra on clothing. Although I am about to pull out their winter stock and access the situation. I guess I don’t do “back to school shopping” for clothes because I shop clearance items throughout the year; it would be very difficult for me to judge an exact amount on a full season of clothing for one child.

I did buy new shoes for Olivia and Peter this year. Total: $34. Ooch. That’s a lot for me to spend on…. well, anything my kids wear, anymore.

My teenager is still responsible for budgeting for his own clothing out of his allowance. (And yes, he still gets $30/month.)

I did buy him a slick-type athletic jacket and pants (what do you call that stuff?) at Goodwill the other day: as per our allowance agreement, the parents purchase items deemed necessary for sporting activities. Conner has decided to do rowing this Fall (yes, rowing!) and he’s going to need something to wear over his work-out clothes before and after practice once the weather cools off. That outfit put me back about $4.69 with tax.

The cost of Rowing? That’s another post. Hint: it ain’t cheap.

So add another $38.69 or so to my previous total of $142.99…. $181.68 is my new (approximate) total for back-to-school shopping for three kids. What’s yours?

(Oh — and still no glue sticks.)

{ 3 trackbacks }

Responsible Budgeting, Spending and Credit Use: Mint’s Personal Finance Round-Up | Finance
September 14, 2010 at 8:22 pm
Mint.com | Personal Finance Management
September 24, 2010 at 8:11 am
School Expenses: An Update. And still counting…
September 28, 2010 at 9:47 pm

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