Survey: Parents will spend less for back-to-school supplies - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

School supply shopping follows economy's downward path

Parents may not need to hit the store for every item on their children's school supply lists. (Source: CNN) Parents may not need to hit the store for every item on their children's school supply lists. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - Parents are expected to significantly decrease their spending on school supplies this summer despite a record amount of spending last year, according to a consumer survey.

Based on the survey, the National Retail Federation projected back-to-school spending would reach $26.7 billion. That is an average of about $635 per child, a decrease of last year's estimate of $30 billion and $689 per child.

"As they continue to grapple with the impact of increased payroll taxes, Americans will look to cut corners where they can, but will buy what their kids need," stated NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. "It's important to note, however, that spending levels are still well above where they were a few years ago."

The economy has affected for more than 80 percent of parents surveyed - changing both how they spend and the way they spend.

More than 36 percent of parents said they would comparison shop online, up from 32 percent last year.

Shopping for college students will experience a similar trend this year. It will fall to $72.5 billion, down more than $10 million from 2012.

The NRF attributed that to splurging during last year's shopping season, leading parents to ask their children to reuse some items.

Julie Mayfield, author of the money management blog The Family CEO, said ways to save money are right under most parents' noses.

"A quick check of the house might turn up scissors, rulers, colored pencils, etc., that can be put into service for the current year," Mayfield said in an email. "And buying a quality backpack might require more of an upfront investment, but it may last for several years longer than cheaper options."

Office supply retailers sometimes offer deals like 1-cent deals on glue and folders, and people can also consider buying refurbished graphing calculators instead of a more expensive new one.

Mayfield also offered help for parents who nearly became heart attack victims after looking at bills for their college kids.

"Online vendors allow students to quickly compare prices with their school's bookstore," said Mayfield. "And textbook rental is becoming increasingly popular. Many times students aren't given much for books after they've used them anyway, so renting is an attractive option."

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