Back to School Spending Up 8% This Year

August 10, 2015, Written By Natalie Rutledge
A fun red shopping basket full of school supplies.

Parents plan to spend an average of $1,239 on school supplies in 2015, an increase of 8% from last year and 24% since 2011, according to the latest American Express Spending & Saving Tracker.

Two important factors in this spending increase are the emergence of technology in the classroom and the popularity of after-school programs.

According to the report, 82% of parents say their children use technology at school, an increase from 77% in 2014. 57% expect to spend money on tablets, up from 51% last year, and 29% plan to buy smartphones for their children. 18% said they would be buying smartboards, and 12% said they would be buying eReaders, such as the Amazon Kind or Barnes & Noble Nook. eReaders were the only technology category to experience a decline, down from 15% in 2014.

While the increase in technology may imply a decrease in the number of textbooks children need for school, parents have a much different story to tell. 57% of parents said they were still going to buy textbooks for their children this school year, an increase from 51% last year.

After-school programs are also contributing to the increased expenses. Parents predict they will spend an average of $455 on after-school activities, a 20% increase from 2014.

Three-quarters of parents said they would be making trade-offs in order to afford these back to school expenses, with over half (53%) saying they would cut back on dining out.

Some credit card companies like Chase are now offering cash back at certain department stores where parents typically shop for school clothes. If you are a rewards cardholder, check out the specials currently available on your card. In the case of Chase Freedom, cardholders can earn 5% cash back for their purchases at Kohl’s department store (as well as gasoline purchases) during the third quarter of 2015, compared to the standard 1%. Take advantage of these deals to save money on your children’s back to school expenses.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of August 10, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.

About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at [email protected]
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