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

Wilmington, Del. -- A survey released Wednesday 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 report 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% anticipate their spending on back-to-school shopping this year to reflect pre-recession 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, Chase Slate.

When asked what would be their biggest expense this year, clothing and apparel was the top category, selected by 43% of back-to-school shoppers. Roughly a 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:

  • Thirty-nine percent purchase necessities such as books first and only buy discretionary items with remaining funds;
  • Thirty-four percent make a list and stick to it;
  • Twenty-six percent shop online to save time and money;
  • Seventeen percent begin shopping after school starts to take advantage of Columbus day and other post-season sales; and
  • Seven percent leave kids at home when doing back to school shopping.
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