KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Fighting back the pressure to overspend on back-to-school shopping

Aug 25, 2021, 12:46 PM

SALT LAKE CITY — What seasonal event, besides the holidays, pushes stress levels high enough to cause parents to overspend? Turns out, it’s back-to-school shopping.

Retailers are expecting parents to spend more than $37 billion this year on everything from glue sticks to laptops — a record amount, according to the National Retail Federation. And a recent survey by CreditCards.com found parents and guardians of all ages are feeling pressure to open their wallets and spend more than they planned on.

Data shared with the KSL Investigators found 49% of millennial parents feel the need to overspend. So do 37% of Generation Xers and 27% of baby boomers. That’s very similar to the numbers seen during the gift-giving season of the winter holidays: 46% for millennials, 41% for Generation Xers and 28% for baby boomers.

Ted Rossman, a senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, conducted the survey and suspects some of that pressure stems from parents trying to make this year a good year, after a crazy year of remote learning.

“There’s always been some element of splurging on back-to-school, but I think it’s even worse now because of COVID and inflation and some supply chain issues,” he said.

Amplifying that pressure are all those wonderful back-to-school posts we’re all seeing on social media.

“We want that picture of our kids looking great on the first day of school. And they’ve got the great outfits and the shoes and the backpack and all the supplies,” said Rossman.

So, how can parents avoid overspending?

Rossman recommended parents create a budget, look for opportunities to spread the spending over several weeks and involve their kids in the whole process. Teach them about price comparisons and finding the best deals.

“It comes down to tradeoffs. It’s like if you splurge in one area, you’ve got to cut back in another because as long as you are upfront with your kids and say this is the budget, give them some freedom to spend within that,” advised Rossman. “But I actually think that’s a healthy way to teach consumer behavior.

Rossman said parents can also make social media and the internet work to their advantage by looking for free or low-cost items on online classifieds, eBay or even “buy nothing” groups on Facebook. We found dozens of such groups based in Utah.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

FILE: Back-to-school shopping (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Gephardt Busts Inflation: Saving $ on back-to-school supplies with inflation

With inflation running amok this year, parents are tackling big price hikes on top of the stress. Fortunately, there are ways they can still save money.
3 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

KSL Investigators help bank customer regain access to his money after fraud incident

KSL Investigators help a fraud victim gain access to his bank account after nearly a year of being locked out.
6 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

What are the rules for airline travel credits?

After canceling a beach vacation to Hawaii, a Utah woman believes she has $1,400 in flight credits. Ongoing flight cancellations have plagued the summer travel season, and a lot of travelers are being made whole with flight credits rather than refunds.
7 days ago
FILE PHOTO - Shown are a smartphone and computer....
Matt Gephardt

Can a company pull the rebate runaround?

When a West Valley City woman took up Verizon on a rebate offer to upgrade but could not get the rebate, she contacted the KSL Investigators for help.
13 days ago
FILE PHOTO...
Daniella Rivera

KSL Investigates: How is Utah’s new self-defense law impacting justice?

Is a new Utah self-defense law improving our justice system or leading to unintended consequences? The KSL Investigators analyzed a full year of cases.
14 days ago
...
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage

Utah home sellers drop asking prices as market slows from a frenzied pace

For years, Utah has been one of the nation's hottest real estate markets, but now it appears to be cooling as sellers are slashing prices.
14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Gephardt: Fighting back the pressure to overspend on back-to-school shopping