Breaking the Bank: Back-to-School Spending Reaches Record High survey reveals Canadians will spend an average of more than $450 this season

TORONTO, Aug. 9, 2016 /CNW/ -- Education isn't cheap – especially, when it comes to the annual back-to-school spending spree. A recent survey by savings destination site revealed that back-to-school shopping has become more stressful for parents than ever before, both mentally and financially.  In fact, the vast majority of Canadians (92 per cent) agree that purchasing back-to-school items can be a financial burden on families, with 91 per cent believing that back-to-school shopping is becoming more expensive year after year.  And they're not wrong!  This year, Canadian parents are expecting to spend an average of $472 on their child for back-to-school shopping, $143 more than what they expected to spend last year ($329).

What's causing this increased spending?  Well, it could the demands of kids themselves, with 73 per cent agreeing that kids today have lavish expectations when it comes to back-to-school shopping.  Or, it could be the parents trying to meet those expectations, with four out of five (82 per cent) believing kids are becoming increasingly spoiled each year and 78 per cent of parents admitting they spend more on their child's wardrobe than their own. 

"Just because parents are buying more than ever before, doesn't mean they should have to spend more," says Sara Skirboll, Retail Me Not, Inc. "Creating a budget and shopping list beforehand will keep you focused on what you actually need and searching for promo codes or online coupons will deliver instant savings.  By engaging your kids in this process, back-to-school shopping can also become an easy lesson in savvy spending."

Similar to last year, the most popular back-to-school purchase continues to be clothing, with 80 per cent planning to buy new clothes for their kids. Over three-quarters of Canadians (76 per cent) agree Canadian parents feel pressured into buying designer or brand name attire in order for their kids to fit in, only adding to the cost. The most popular purchases for heading back to school, with expected average spends, are as follows:

  • Clothing – 80 per cent to purchase, spending $187
  • Shoes – 75 per cent to purchase, spending $92
  • School Supplies – 74 per cent to purchase, spending $95
  • Back Pack – 61 per cent to purchase, spending $47
  • Textbooks – 44 per cent to purchase, spending $328
  • Beauty/Grooming products – 20 per cent to purchase, spending $60

The older the kids, the higher the cost
Parents whose kids are graduating high school aren't off the hook yet. Seventy per cent of parents feel that shopping for university students is more expensive than shopping for elementary and high school students. Parents of university students reported spending a shocking $1,630 on back-to-school shopping, despite the fact that 64 per cent believe that those in post-secondary education should financially support themselves. The survey also reported that parents of elementary and high school students will spend a substantial $318 and $412 respectively, for their child's back-to-school needs.

Other survey findings include:

  • Smart spenders: Ninety per cent of Canadians parents plan to look for deals and discounts to save where they can during back-to-school shopping;
  • Daddy's angels: When it comes to back-to-school shopping, men have a tendency to spoil their kids, spending $110 more than their female counterparts ($523 and $413, respectively);
  • Can't teach an old dog new tricks:  86 per cent of parents stated that they mostly look in-store for back-to-school sales, versus the 49 per cent that said they check out online deals;
  • National spending: Similar to last year, Quebec parents are still willing to dish out the most cash for the back-to-school season, planning to spend $53 more than the national average spend ($514);

About the survey:
From July 13th to July 14th, 2016 an online survey was conducted among 1,506 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

About RetailMeNot, Inc.
RetailMeNot ( is a leading digital savings destination connecting consumers with retailers, restaurants and brands, both online and in-store. The company enables consumers across the globe to find hundreds of thousands of digital offers to save money while they shop or dine out. During the 12 months ended March 31, 2016, RetailMeNot, Inc. experienced over 700 million visits to its websites. It also averaged 19.2 million mobile unique visitors per month during the three months ended March 31, 2016. RetailMeNot, Inc. estimates that approximately $4.8 billion in retailer sales were attributable to consumer transactions from paid digital offers in its marketplace in 2015, more than $600 million of which were attributable to its in-store solution. The RetailMeNot, Inc. portfolio of websites and mobile applications includes in the United States; in Canada; in the United Kingdom; in Germany; in the Netherlands; and in France; in Spain, in Italy, in Poland and and in North America. RetailMeNot, Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol "SALE." Investors interested in learning more about the company can visit

For interview requests or more information, please contact:

Erin Banting
Citizen Relations
416 934 8422 office
416 414 8637 mobile

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