Survey: More consumers budgeting for back-to-school shopping

WILMINGTON, Del. — A survey released by Chase Slate with Blueprint revealed that more back-to-school shoppers are carefully managing their spending and borrowing by creating a budget and sticking to it.

Thirty-eight percent reported that they have a set budget for school-related expenses; in 2011, only 26% of people had created a budget for their back-to-school shopping. In addition, 32% said they anticipate their spending on back-to-school shopping this year to reflect prerecession figures.

“Consumers have learned a lot of valuable lessons about mindful spending over the last few years, and shoppers will be keeping those lessons top of mind whether they’re buying for school-age kids or stocking up for a semester at college,” said Rachana Bhatt, marketing director for Chase Slate.

When asked what would be their biggest expense this year, clothing and apparel was the top category, as it was selected by 43% of back-to-school shoppers. Roughly one-quarter each said that either books or technology (such as computers, smartphones and tablets) would be their biggest expenses (24% versus 23%, respectively).

That being said, parents are putting their collective foot down this year when it comes to popular gadgets. Half said they will not be purchasing the smartphones or tablets their kids are asking for this season. Twenty-six percent are drawing the line at designer clothes or shoes.

The Chase survey also found that shoppers will use a variety of tactics to save money this season:

  • 39% said they purchase such necessities as books first and only buy discretionary items with remaining funds;

  • 34% make a list and stick to it;

  • 26% said they shop online to save time and money;

  • 17% said they begin shopping after school starts to take advantage of Columbus Day and other post-season sales; and

  • 7% leave kids at home when doing back-to-school shopping.

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