Tis the season for back-to-school shopping, but a new survey shows that some parents are feeling some financial jitters and could be spending less on supplies and clothes this year.
Questions over whether kids really need new jeans or if they could re-use folders from the year before show that many parents still are concerned about the economy, and many are looking for ways to cut costs or stick to sales.
Julia Olson is a third-grade student trying to enjoy what's left of her summer vacation, but her parents insist they need to get a head start on her back-to-school shopping.
"I think when you've lived through what we all have in the last few years, it's not the Great Depression, but everyone should be careful and conservative," Angie Olson said.
The Olsons aren't the only ones who are bring a cost-conscious attitude to the store this year. According to the consulting firm Deloitte, which surveyed parents of children grades K-12, families will spend about $428 on back-to-school shopping this year. That's down $170 from 2012.
Some of the reasons that came out of the survey include:
- Lingering concerns about the economy
- Rising food costs
- Gas prices
Luckily, University of St. Thomas marketing professor Lorman Lundsten said there aren't any must-have gadgets this year.
"I don't see a big introduction from Apple that this is a wonderful device you have to have or else you'll be so embarrassed you'll never go to class," Lundsten said.
Even so, $428 is a dollar amount that can do a lot of damage to a tight budget. Kelly Kussard estimates she'll probably have to spend more because her daughter's school requires a uniform as well as a lot of supplies.
"Whereas when I grew up, a lot of that supply was at the school," she recalled. "It was basically, 'Bring a backpack and loose paper.'"
For parents of college-aged students heading back to school, Deloitte estimates they expect to spend about $900 this year. Analysts expect that figure will increase each year with the rising costs of higher education.