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Back-to-school shopping can add up

Parents doing back-to-school shopping will have to open their wallets a little wider this year. A survey from the National Retail Federation found the average family with children in grades K-12 will spend $669.28 on clothes, shoes and supplies.

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This year’s total is a 5 percent increase from 2013, when parents spent $634.78. A slowly improving economy is partially responsible for the bump in spending, but after several years of skimping, some parents are forced to make some new purchases.

“Obviously children grow, backpacks rip and you don’t have much of a choice but to go out and buy those new items,” said Kathy Grannis, spokeswoman for the National Retail Federation.

The study finds parents spend on average $124 dollars on shoes, $230 dollars on clothing, and 10 percent more on school supplies, or roughly $101.

While the total might seem shocking to parents, the age of the child plays a big factor in how much parents will spend on average.

“The average high school parent will spend about $683, the average middle school parent will spend about $682, and the average parent with elementary aged children will spend $581 dollars,” Grannis said.

Not surprisingly, teenagers drive many of the buying choices and are significantly more brand conscious-looking for the hottest (and often costliest) brands and styles.

However, Grannis  said teenagers are spending more of their own money on back to school purchases.

“Teenagers will spend an average of $34 dollars. It’s certainly not a lot but what’s most interesting is that adds up to about $913 million of just spending.”

Preteens will be spending an average $22.27 dollars of their own money, totaling $544.
In today’s high tech and wireless world, electronics are quickly becoming a staple for back to school shopping as well- and adding a big chunk to the back to school bills.

The report finds college students will spend, on average, $243.79 on computers, tablets and smart phones, a 20 percent increase from last year.

In general, college students are regarded as the “golden goose” by retailers. University-bound students and their families will spend $916.48 on dorm furniture, supplies, electronics and more. A 10 percent increase from last years.

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