Wellness & Education

Saving on Back-to-School Spending

In 2022 parents expect to spend an average of $262 dollars in back-to-school spending per child on clothing and accessories, $140 on school supplies, $168 on shoes and a whopping $293 on electronics or computer-related equipment. This brings the total to $863 per child.  

While these numbers are based on national averages, and not reflective of Indiana’s relatively low cost of living, they are high enough to make back-to-school shopping a painful experience for most Rush County pocketbooks. Here are a few suggestions for keeping spending more in line with what most parents can afford: 

  • Back-to-school shopping is a lot like the cereal aisle at the grocery store. If your kids are with you, you’ll spend twice as much. Try leaving them at home for much of your shopping, and you’ll be sure to save.  
  • Kids often prefer to purchase trendy t-shirts, backpacks and school supplies with the character or image from their favorite movie, video game or TV show. However, plain backpacks and supplies are usually cheaper. Instead of opting for the more expensive versions of everything, pick one or two media tie-in items and limit the rest to favorite colors, not favorite characters.  
  • Instead of getting a bunch of new outfits all at once, spread new clothes shopping out over multiple weeks, and multiple paychecks.  
  • Take your children to backpack giveaways in the community.  
  • Pool your money with other parents and split bulk purchases on notebooks, paper, etc.  
  • If you’re not sure what to buy in the way of school supplies, only buy enough to get your child through the first day. When they come home with a list, you can make a second trip and buy what your child actually needs.  
  • Before shopping, check out what you have at home. If you mix the old in with the new, it will save money and prevent waste.  
  • Not all learning occurs at school. Back-to-school shopping can be a good time to teach your children about the difference between needs and wants. Budget a certain amount for the necessities and give them a set amount to spend on extras. If they want to upgrade to something with a little more “bling”, take the difference out of that allowance. Once that money is spent, help them learn to be satisfied with what they have.