1 in 3 Say Back-to-School Shopping More Stressful, Expensive Than Holiday Shopping

For millions of parents, back-to-school shopping is dreaded even more than holiday shopping, and about a third of shoppers said it’s both more stressful and more expensive, according to a new report from CompareCards by LendingTree.

With the new school year fast approaching, CompareCards asked Americans about back-to-school shopping and found the end-of-summer ritual drives stress, debt and parent-child arguments – and many think their costs will only increase.

Key findings

  • 36% think back-to-school shopping is more stressful than holiday shopping, and 32% said it’s more expensive.
  • 23% said back-to-school shopping has at least somewhat damaged their relationship with their child.
  • More than a quarter of shoppers expect to go into debt because of back-to-school shopping, and most will not be able to pay off that debt quickly.
  • Half of back-to-school shoppers plan to spend more this year than last year. On average, shoppers expect to spend $428 on back-to-school shopping this year.
  • 43% are stressed about how they will pay for back-to-school shopping.

“With parents collectively spending billions of dollars on their children’s back-to-school shopping needs each year, it’s no wonder the end-of-summer ritual takes a toll on wallets, emotions and even relationships,” said Matt Schulz, Chief Industry Analyst at CompareCards. “While it’s unlikely shoppers can completely eliminate all stress from the back-to-school season, careful planning and savvy shopping goes a long way. Shoppers can set boundaries and budgets before heading to the mall, use credit card rewards and sign-up bonuses strategically, and comparison shop for the best deals. At the end of the day, back-to-school season happens just once per year, and soon enough the chaos will be over, so breathe, Mom and Dad. You’ve got this.”