Back to School

Back-to-school spending rises year over year 


Consumers expected to push back-to-school spending to an all-time high in 2017.

While the holidays dominate as the biggest consumer spending seasons of the year – American’s spent $658.31 billion in 2016 – the back-to-school spending season is gaining traction in its own right and is expected to hit an all-time high in 2017.

The National Retail Federation’s annual Back-to-School survey2estimates that total spending – for items such as notebooks, backpacks, electronics and clothing – for school and college is projected to reach $83.6 billion in 2017. That’s a more than 10% increase from 2016. At the household level, families with kids in elementary through high school can plan to spend an average $688 during the 2017 back-to-school frenzy.

Back to school spending

Don’t let back-to-school expenses put you in a panic. These shopping tips3 can help ease the financial burden.

  1. Check deals week to week, as big stores offer different promotions weekly
  2. Shop at home to unearth last year’s scissors and rulers and barely used colored pencils and glue
  3. Buy backpacks later in the fall when they go on sale
  4. Understand what your state’s tax-free weekend includes and what’s exempt
  5. Purchase gift cards to stores like Macy’s, Dicks and others at a discounted price on websites such as
  6. Take advantage of specific store offers, such as rebates and coupons
  7. Don’t buy all clothes and outerwear now (when’s the last time a child wore a coat to school in August?)

With the money you save, consider investing it for college. Our college funding calculator can give you an idea of what college will cost when your kids are ready to go. Then, talk with a financial advisor at Waddell & Reed about education funding options and a plan for your family.

Learn more about saving for higher education.

Contact a Waddell & Reed advisor today to find out how to incorporate education savings into your financial plan.

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Associated Tags: Saving for College, Education Planning

1 National Retail Federation, Jan. 13, 2017,

2National Retail Federation, July 13, 2017,

3The Kansas City Star, Aug. 1, 2017,

This information is provided for informational and educational purposes only. Waddell & Reed believes the information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided. 

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