Back-to-School Survey: Families Expected to Spend More This Year

CHICAGO - AUGUST 29: Back-to-school signs are displayed in a Target store August 29, 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Public schools in Chicago are set to open September 5. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

By: Lanetra Bennett
July 21, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - An annual survey says families expect to spend more on back-to-school items than they did last year. Even though a majority say the tough economy still impacts their spending decisions.

"Book bag, and the lunch box, and this is what the school requires is the binder and the composition book. These were the things that we came here for."

Tallahassee resident D-Ann Gassett is ahead of the game in back-to-school shopping for her granddaughter. "It's kind of a treasure hunt. You either play or you don't play." She says.

The National Retail Federation's annual back-to-school survey says families expect to spend more on school items than they did last year.

Gassett says, "It's a big debt for parents starting school with school clothes and all that. Big Lots had a sale last Sunday. Twenty percent off, I got all of her back-to-school things free there with what I purchased. So now we just finished up with just a couple of extra things."

The survey says while 81.1 percent of people say the economy will affect their spending, families plan to spend an average of $669.28 in back-to-school clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics.

That's up five percent from last year.

Tallahassee resident Kari Case has two elementary-school aged kids. She says, "I did spend a lot of money because this year both of my kids wanted Land-In book bags. We try to get the kids maybe about six to ten outfits. Then like two pairs of tennis shoes, socks, underwear."

But, having all of your supplies doesn't mean being ready for school. Case's daughter admits that she's not ready to go back, "Because it's homework."

Families with college students plan to spend $916.48 million on dorm furniture, school supplies, electronics and more, up 10 percent from last year.

The survey says total spending is expected to reach $26 billion, which is slightly down from last year because there are fewer students in households.

A quarter of families said they'll make do with the items they already have.

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