In a recent survey conducted by TopCashback.com, a cross-section of 1,243 adults, aged 18 and over were polled and found that 69 percent of Americans plan to shop for back-to-school items with 41 percent planning to spend up to $500 per child. 

Will Americans spend more or less than last year on back-to-school supplies?

  • More (47 percent)
  • The same (34 percent)
  • Less (19 percent)

The most costly items on Americans’ back-to-school shopping lists:

  • First-day-of-school outfit/new clothes and shoes (40 percent)
  • Technology/appliances (new computer, new phone, mini fridge, etc.) (35 percent)
  • School supplies (15 percent)

The same three items mentioned above were also the most important back-to-school items, but in a different order:

  • School supplies (49 percent)
  • First-day-of-school outfit/new clothes and shoes (26 percent)
  • Technology/appliances (new computer, new phone, mini fridge, etc.) (12 percent)

Back-to-school shopping is a time where many ask questions along the lines of “what kind of statement will I make this year?” with their clothes, classes and more. 74 percent of Americans will bring their kids along with them to pick out their own supplies.

How much Americans plan to spend per child:

  • $101 to $500 (41 percent)
  • $51 to $100 (36 percent)
  • $0 to $50 (17 percent)

How Americans plan to save money on back-to-school shopping:

  • Shop sales (44 percent)
  • Use a cashback site (27 percent)
  • Use coupons (18 percent)

Another costly expense that comes with back-to-school shopping, especially for the 28 percent shopping for college students, are books. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) plan to rent books in order to save money (64 percent). 

How Americans plan to shop for back-to-school items:

  • Visiting physical stores (63 percent)
  • Shopping online (37 percent)

Where Americans plan to shop for back-to-school items:

  • Department stores (54 percent)
  • Office supply stores (31 percent)
  • Dollar stores (14 percent)
  • Boutiques (two percent)

With more than one-third (38 percent) doing their shopping during peak season AKA the middle of summer, it’s no surprise that 61 percent of Americans find back-to-school shopping stressful. 

To make back-to-school shopping a little less stressful, Americans may want to take a break from spending, and watch a movie.

Americans’ favorite back-to-school movies:

  • ‘The Breakfast Club’ (31 percent)
  • ‘Grease’ (22 percent)
  • ‘10 Things I Hate About You’ (16 percent)

Below, please find back-to-school saving tips from Rebecca Gramuglia, Shopping Expert at TopCashback.com:

  • Get creative and reuse what you can. If your child’s backpack, pencil cases and other items are still in great condition, reuse them for the following year. Spending money every year on the latest character-themed backpack and supplies can be costly, so consider purchasing classic staples like a backpack in a solid color and have your kids DIY it with pins, stickers and keychains instead. If the quality backpack is still in good shape, remove the flare and start a new theme for the following year, too. Pro tip:  Don’t forget to look around the house to see what forgotten back to school items you can find. Everyone is guilty of forgetting about unopened packages of pencils or unused notebooks and binders!
  • Check out your local flyer for sales. Grab a Sunday paper for coupons on back-to-school items. Many stores such as Target, Walmart and the dollar store will place coupons and ads promoting special back to school deals in your local paper to help you save more. 
  • Shop online. Consumers can avoid crowded back-to-school sections at stores by purchasing all their items online. To make the first-day outfit a little easier on the wallet, shop through a cashback site like TopCashback.com to receive a percentage of your purchase back in cashback on qualifying purchases from Target, Kohl’s, Best Buy and more.
  • Don’t ignore the summer clearance racks. Just because the clothes were sold in the summer doesn’t mean you can’t wear them in the fall (or all year round), too! Items like jeans, basics and sneakers get marked down all the time. These on-sale back-to-school staples may be in brighter colors or lighter fabrics, but you can still wear them in the early fall (depending on where you live) and layer them once the weather gets colder. Sometimes the marked down items are only slightly different in design compared to their full-priced counterparts, so be sure to comparison-shop to see where you can get the best deal. 
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