Average Back-to-School Spending Expected to Rise for 2019
Even if the calendar and weather insist that summer is still here, make no mistake that back-to-school season has arrived. In addition to students preparing to employ their alarm clocks once again, many parents are prepping their wallets for the expenses that come with the new school year. In fact, according to a new study by the personal finance site WalletHub, parents are expected to spend more on school supplies in 2019 than they did last year.
This year WalletHub estimates that Americans will spend an average of $697 while back-to-school shopping. That’s an increase of $12 from 2018 as the figure pushes closer to the $700 mark. Moreover one-third of those surveyed said they planned on spending more on supplies this year than they did last year.
WalletHub also asked parents where they intended to do more of their back-to-school shopping. The overwhelming favorite was Walmart, which 35% of respondents said was the best place to purchase school supplies. That was followed by Target with 18%, Amazon with 13%, and Staples with 8% – as well as Dollar Tree and Costco tied at 5%. As for what deals parents are most looking forward to, 48% said they were excited for discounts on clothing while 41% were anticipating deals on basic supplies.
Speaking of deals, one of the best times to shop for back-to-school is during tax holiday weekends. In several states shoppers can enjoy duty-free purchases on various school supplies. While some of these tax holiday events have already taken place, states such as Connecticut, Maryland, and Texas will hold theirs in the coming weeks. Of note, each state may have different rules and restrictions for which items qualify for the tax holiday.
Finally, WalletHub also asked parents about a few personal finance topics as they relate to their students. For example 61% of those surveyed said their child’s education was worth going into debt for. Interestingly “debt” was also the top concern parents had about their children graduating college, followed closely by the job market. Elsewhere, asked at what age students should be given their first credit card, one in ten said they should have one before they turn 18 while 37% said it should be before they are 21.
With Americans spending a total of more than $80 billion per year on back-to-school supplies, the annual shopping tradition may not be quite to the level of the winter holidays but it is certainly a major expense for parents. However by taking advantage of tax holidays, shopping around for deals, and more, adults can help cut the amount they spend on their students’ supplies each year.