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Moms Spend More on Kids' Wardrobes than Their Own

Aug 13th 2012
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Women & Co., Citi's personal finance resource for women, and, online home of Parenting and Babytalk magazines, today released results from their "2012 Back-to-School Spending Report." The report provides an in-depth look at how moms really feel about shopping and school-related costs this year.

According to a survey of 1,000 moms, 60 percent say that clothing will be their biggest expense this year - with 91 percent admitting to spending more on their kids' wardrobes than their own. On average, families are planning on spending $131 on clothing and $48 on school supplies - per child.

"Even when it comes to fall fashion, women put their kids first - spending more on back-to-school clothes than their own wardrobes. And with so many purchases being made, the back-to-school season can be a perfect opportunity to teach children the value of spending wisely", said Linda Descano, president and CEO of Women & Co. "Whether you're giving kids an allowance to buy their own gear or making a game out of finding the best deals on school supplies, nearly every purchase you make - or don't make - can be used as a teachable money moment."

"The number of visitors to looking for kids' fashion-related content is nearly three times what it was a year ago - and a spike during the back-to-school season indicates that modern families are making kids' style needs a priority", said Mark Wildman, VP/group publisher of The Parenting Group. "Savvy, millennial moms will seek out tools and content that make shopping for their children's clothing and gear fit the family's budget and lifestyle, such as apps for making smart buying decisions on the go."

The survey also examined moms' attitudes toward back-to-school shopping and found significant differences in spending habits among families in different parts of the country. For example, moms in the Midwest - who were the least likely to think of themselves as bargain hunters - were ironically the most likely to stay under budget during back-to-school season. Moms in the Northeast, however, admitted they were most likely to get carried away and spend more than they should.

Additional findings include:

Moms' most popular ways to save: Fifty-four percent of moms set a back-to-school budget and plan to stick to it and will do so in a number of different ways. Forty-five percent think of themselves as "bargain hunters", clipping coupons and searching for sales; 28 percent are "one-stop shoppers", visiting one or two retailers to buy everything they need to save time; and 20 percent are "early birds", shopping as soon as the sales start to get the best selection. But despite all their best efforts to save, one in four moms still feel they get carried away with back-to-school shopping and buy more than they should.

School fundraisers starting to take their toll. More than half of moms said that school fundraisers were becoming a burden, and 17 percent no longer have the time or resources to keep up with what is being asked of them.

Cost of college worrying public school parents. Sixty-nine percent of respondents overall were uncomfortable with what they have saved for their child's college education. Nearly half of public school parents were extremely worried about college expenses, responding that they were "very" uncomfortable with the amount they have saved - yet only 29 percent of private school parents feel the same.

The most detested back-to-school chore is not back-to-school shopping. More than 50 percent of moms say getting their kids back on a school schedule is their most detested back-to-school chore - over school supplies and clothing shopping, registering for school activities, and attending start-of-the-school year events.

Despite the money issues on moms' minds, they are still picking up the tab for the majority of their kids' school expenses - only 12 percent have their kids pay for any of their own back-to-school shopping. At the same time, many are using back-to-school as an opportunity to teach their kids about money: Over half (55 percent) use the back-to-school season as a reason to have a money talk with their kids.

Visit Women & Co. and bookmark the site from your mobile phone for money-saving tips and tricks you can use while back-to-school shopping, money activities for kids on the go, and more. For more detailed results from the Back-to-School Spending Report, access the full report. Visit the website for additional resources for today's modern families.

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Source: Women & Co.; News Release