Parents overspending on back-to-school purchases


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — Hayot Tuychiev has three sons, and two of them are old enough for school. Like most parents, he looks for ways to cut costs heading into the school year. More than two in five Americans spend up to $500 per child on back-to-school items, according to a TopCashback survey.

“For a lot of parents in town who do not shop online, I think it becomes challenging,” Tuychiev said. “I saw recently two shops that sell shoes close down. So, that means less competition, higher prices and spending more money.”

In the study, 1,243 adults responded to questions about their back-to-school buying habits. Forty-seven percent of the respondents said they will spend more this year than last, and new clothes and shoes registered as the most-costly venture.

“The way we cut costs is shopping online,” Tuychiev said. “Just this morning, we realized we needed to buy running shoes for my sixth grader, and then we started looking around for some things, and we narrowed it down to buy on Amazon.”

The survey numbers indicated that school supplies were typically the least-costly items when compared to clothes and technology. Forty-one percent of respondents said they would spend between $101-$500 on back-to-school items.

Technology is more important to the classroom than its ever been, and district requirement lists reflect that. Tuychiev said administrators should consider including parents on the list-making process to cut down on excessive expenses.

“The school districts are asking parents to buy a lot of things that I feel like some of it is unnecessary,” Tuychiev said. “Now they’re demanding more tech purchases like thumb drives, ear buds, hard drives. I think the school districts also could look at their lists and maybe consult with parents and see if some of it may not be necessary for the school year.”

For multi-children families like Tuychiev’s, the expenses rack up as they start going through the requirement lists and simple necessities.

“[Changing the requirement list] is really going to help out parents out there who have more than one kid and are trying to cut costs,” Tuychiev said.

Tuychiev said it’s important to compare costs and budget to save the most money during the buying process.

“We try to be savvy with our purchases and other things, so we try to shop around and buy better deals,” Tuychiev said. “I don’t think it’s a huge deal. Sometimes, parents just panic a little bit, but at the end of the day, it’s a cost that adds up…but it’s doable.”

Rebecca Gramuglia, a shopping expert for TopCashback, listed tips on how to save money during the back-to-school season.

  • Get creative, and reuse when you can.
  • Check out your local flyer for sales.
  • Shop online.
  • Don’t ignore the summer clearance racks.

Tuychiev said not attaching hysteria to the process will cut down on hassle as well as money.

“Sometimes, I feel like some parents, organizations and schools just go crazy at it, saying ‘oh, my God…it’s the school year,’” Tuychiev said. “I know, but if we cut some here and there, I think we’ll be okay.”

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