A new consumer report shows parents are stressed out about back-to-school shopping.
According to Retail-Me-Not, a website where you can find digital coupons and deals, 9 in 10 parents surveyed said back-to-school shopping for their children stresses them out.
Parents say money is a major factor fueling the shopping stress, as well as dealing with crowds and finding supplies their children will be happy with.
Allison Kaplan, the mother of two boys and a consumer expert with Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, says she can't believe her kids will already be heading to school in about a month.
"I kind of think I'm in denial at the moment," she says. "It creeps up so early. And every year, people say it's earlier every year, and it isn't. It always happens this way."
According to the National Retail Federation’s yearly back to school survey, back-to-school and college spending are projected to reach $83.6 billion this year.
That’s a more than 10-percent increase from last year’s $75.8 billion.
Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $688 each.
College students and their families plan to spend an average of $970.
With schools changing their classroom experience to include more technology, many parents are spending more during the back-to-school season.
Kaplan says tech gadgets needed for class are driving that number up, and the expense is causing a lot of stress.
"Things are getting fancier, they get more expensive," she says. "Kids need laptops, they want phones, and so we're spending a lot more money on those kinds of things. These are bigger purchases that take some time, and so I think that's probably where the stress comes from."
She says there are ways to manage your stress, including knowing what is required.
A lot of schools provide supplies, including tech gadgets, so families may not need to buy as much as their kids tell them they need.
Another tip is to space out purchases. Do a little bit at a time so it doesn't get too overwhelming, and look for deals.
Finally, get kids involved. Print out a list, and have them check off each item.
Kaplan says it's great for kids to see how much school supplies cost.
"Make a day of it and get it done and don't wait until the last minute," she says.
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