Americans are spending less on back to school clothes this year than they did in 2012. Back to school shoppers are planning their budgets carefully. Many are reusing items from last year and comparing prices online before shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, families with school children will spend an average of $634.78, down from $688.62 last year.
The biggest part of back to school budgets will go toward new apparel and accessories. 95.3% of those with school age children will spend an average of $230.85 on fall sweaters, denim, and other chic pieces of attire. They will also spend $114.39 on shoes and $90.49 on school supplies.
While over two hundred dollars may seem like a lot of money, it may not stretch as far as parents wish. We took Jenna who wears a girls size 12, back to school shopping using the amount budgeted by the National Retail Federation. Jenna is a vivacious ten-year-old about to begin fifth grade. Like all children, most of Jenna’s clothing from last year is outgrown. Her pants and jeans are too short and too tight, and most pieces show signs of fading and wear.
We checked websites, newspaper and television advertisements before shopping. Jenna helped to create a list of things she most needed and wanted to start school. We began with the bare necessities, then added pieces she liked that would mix and match for multiple bright, trendy looks. As Jenna approached the national average, be began chipping away at the list, slashing items that were not absolutely necessary.
We took Jenna to Kohl’s, a favorite of many budget-conscious shoppers. Kohl’s is a mid-range department store with an excellent selection for children of all ages. They have weekend sales and discounts to help back to school shoppers. Here is a list of what we purchased:
- One 10-pack of SONOMA Life + Style patterned briefs for $14
- SONOMA Life + Style 7-pack crew socks for $9.10
- Maidenform 3-pack crop bras for $8.99
- Two pair of SO skinny jeans for $14.99 each
- A Mudd lace-sleeved top for $12.99
- Two Jumping Beans fleece hoodies for $11.99 each
- Two Mudd plaid woven shirts for $14.99 each
- Two Jumping Beans sparkle tees for $7.99 each
- A Chaps cable cardigan for $18.99
- A Chaps Ikat crop denim jacket for $25.99
- A JanSport zebra backpack for $34.99
The total was $224.97 before taxes, coming very close to the figure provided by the National Retail Federation. There was no wiggle room to add dresses, skirts, vests, headbands or bracelets.
As you shop for back to school this weekend, you may find these figures both helpful and comforting. Few people have extra money to spend and, like you, most are cautious and budget-conscious.
As always, maximize your style and minimize your spending~