Back to School

Back to School Shopping Trends: Kids Vs Parents

Back To School Shopping Trends #Infographic |

Kids and parents often have differing views when it comes to what’s most important on the back-to-school shopping list. A survey by confirmed this when they asked parents what topped their back-to-school list and what they “think” their kids want. Not surprisingly, school supplies ranked highly on Mom and Dad’s list while they fell to last place on their kids list.

It doesn’t surprise me to see such disparity and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. In fact, it’s probably quite normal. Kids often have different priorities than Mom and Dad do! Of course, this leads to store aisle arguments where no one wins. The good news? This can also be easily avoided by letting your kids manage their budget. And don’t worry — I’m not suggesting that you let them buy whatever they want. 🙂 Instead, work with them to meld their “wants” with their “needs”.

Lauren and Taylor have been doing this for years, and it has turned them into smart consumers who know how to maximize their budget and stretch a dollar. Additionally, it’s really helped them identify when the influence of others is affecting their choices and how playing “keep up” really doesn’t pay off in the end. I love all the lessons they have learned, and I strongly encourage you to let your kids manage their back-to-school budget this year.

Back To School Shopping Trends |

One important tidbit is that most parents found the back-to-school sales on laptops and tablets to be better than Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. So if you or your kids are in the market for one, now may be the best time to purchase one. And, of course, if you live in one of the states that offer a sales-tax holiday on back-to-school supplies, you want to couple that advantage with a good sales price!

What is the top priority on back-to-school shopping list? What do you think tops your kid’s list? Do you let them manage their back-to-school budget?


August 10, 2015  •  20 Comments  •  Back to School

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  1. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    This is good stuff, Shannon. I consider myself lucky that I don't have to go through any of it - at least not yet ;)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      Thanks, Natalie! Some day - you'll be glad you have this knowledge, my friend. :)
  2. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    My kids are still little so I make all the decisions regarding what we buy and don't buy. I didn't buy my kids any back to school clothes this year because they already have to many! All we had to buy was school supplies.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      In a couple of years, the girls will be ready to help make some decisions on how to use the back-to-school budget. That's so nice that you didn't have to buy new clothes too. I wasn't so fortunate! LOL!
  3. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    Kids are so huge on brand name clothing, shoes, etc. that it's not surprising that this tops their list. It's also interesting how some clothes can be "cool" one year then all of a sudden they are out of style. One thing I'm not looking forward to dealing with when I have kids!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      It's so true that what's in style one minute can be old news the next. Although, in all fairness, it was the same way when we were kids too! It's just a bit more frustrating as parents!
  4. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    Like Holly, our kids are still young enough to where we make the large majority of the decisions. We didn't have to buy much this year but know that won't always be the case and will likely involve our kiddos in some way as they get older.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      Absolutely involve the kids as they grow older and can take on more responsibility. I find that beyond being a great money lesson, it also helps lessen arguments when they better understand why we have to make compromises to honor our budget.
  5. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    Luckily, since it is only kindergarten, I don't have to purchase too much this year :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      So true! It's still fun though buying her first backpack and so forth. A little emotional too!
  6. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    Damn back to school shopping had changed! It seems a bit unfair that some students would be able to have their own laptops (do they actually use them in class?) while others can't afford it. I would think that there would be community computers in classrooms for stuff like that, while at home kids can have a varied amount of technology depending on the situation. Geez back in "my day" all you needed was a #2 pencil, trapper keeper, and tote bag!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      There are definitely computer labs and such but kids are getting on computers and tech savvy at a much earlier age too. When a child "needs" a their own laptop is still probably a bit debatable. Since you can buy relatively cheap laptops these days, kids may also be able to convince Mom and Dad they need one too. :)
  7. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    Hi Shannon,

    Oh my goodness, I remember the battles with my girls when shopping for back to school items. While I was trying to budget to buy for four kids, they were picking high-end items that they "just had to have". :)

    Now the shoe is on the other foot. I have one daughter who has two boys, one who is three years old and insists his clothes are all marvel comics, is now going through the same thing and I have another daughter who is now buying her own clothes and suddenly finds it okay to buy a nice top a Target. LOL

    The good news is, they were listening to my advice and now they are careful when it comes to their spending habits.

    Passing your post along to share with others! Have a great day Shannon. Hope all is well :).

    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      The girls are getting older, so they are starting to get pickier about the clothes they were, which I remember doing as well. It is always interesting when the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, and I'm glad you're talking to your girls and helping think about how they use their money. Those lessons are the ones they will demonstrate and pass on to their own children.
  8. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    I think it's very interesting how many parents agreed that laptops are a necessity. I mean, I can see that it might be worthwhile to help your kid save for a computer, but I managed to make it through my last two years of college without a computer 2009-2010 (due to a spilled coffee incident). I mean, I had to spend long days in the library instead of in a coffee shop, but other than that, I was fine.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      Kids are doing more and more school work on computers, so it some ways it doesn't surprise me, although it's obviously very different from when I was in school. :) I'm sure some is advertiser (and kids) influence but it also wouldn't shock me to see more and more kids needing laptops for school work as they grow older too.
  9. Monday, August 10th, 2015
    Since we live in a not very affluent area, I can't ever see public schools requiring laptops or computers here, but I suspect the day is coming where we will feel the need to buy one to keep up with the rest of the world. This years biggest expenses for back to school was a $3 planner and $50 on school supplies, so I guess we got off lucky!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      I'm sure there is some "keep up" influence baked into that statistic. At the same time, it also wouldn't shock me if we did eventually come to a point where a laptop does become more of a necessity than a luxury too.
  10. Tuesday, August 11th, 2015
    This generation is really now advance. Last week, I bought my kid a laptop and a smartphone because I felt she needed it this time that she's 8 years old and for school requirements. I just hope that she uses it more and solely for school purposes.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, August 13th, 2015
      They start kids on computers at a very young age these days, so in some ways, it's really not surprising how tech savvy kids get, which also means they want all the gadgets too.
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan