5 back-to-school spending tips for clients

By Staff | August 29, 2016 | Last updated on August 29, 2016
2 min read

The back-to-school shopping season is well underway. And, according to a recent survey by retailmenot.ca, Canadian parents will spend approximately $472 on their children, on average—that compares to $329 last year.

The survey adds most parents (92%) find back-to-school shopping stressful, with the majority of respondents (91%) saying it’s becoming more expensive each year.

Read: Many post-secondary students rely on parents for money

Similar to last year, the top purchase continues to be clothing, with 80% of parents planning to buy new outfits for their kids. Other popular purchases are:

  • shoes (75% will purchase these, spending an average of $92);
  • school supplies (74% will purchase these, spending an average of $95);
  • backpacks (61% will purchase these, spending an average of $47);
  • textbooks (44% will purchase these, spending an average of $328); and
  • beauty/grooming products (20% will purchase these, spending an average of $60).

To help clients reduce stress and avoid overspending, Alberta-based Money Mentors suggests you offer the following tips to parents.

  • First, check your current inventory. As simple as this seems, there may be a surprising number of supplies in client’s home from past shopping sprees.
  • Then, create a budget. Help your client create and stick to a budget, which is based on his current financial position. That will help him and his family remain in control of their overall spending. Have them consider their household income, monthly financial responsibilities, and any other savings plans or goals. Read: Gen X, Y less confident they’ll meet financial goals
  • Never pay full price. Shopping around takes more time, but gives your client the best bang for his buck. Suggest he compare the best deals in flyers, as well as consider in-store discounts and online deals. Used textbooks and resources are also available at local libraries.
  • Use cash. Paying with cash when shopping helps people stick to spending limits and avoid impulse buys. Read: The ABCs of cash flow planning: Top 10 posts
  • Buy in bulk with a friend. Costs are often much cheaper at warehouse stores such as Costco, but you have to buy in bulk. So, your client can team up with a friend or two when buying items such as basic school supplies.

For more client tips, read:

Lessons from family offices

Too much generosity can spoil children

Advisor.ca staff


The staff of Advisor.ca have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.