It pays to be a daddy’s girl (or a father’s son)

daddy's girl

Kids take note: Leave Mom at home and go back to school shopping with Dad – you’ll probably end up with more stuff. A new study from found that, on average, Canadian dads are planning on spending more money on outfitting their kids for back-to-school than Canadian moms.

The discrepancy between Dad’s planned expenditure of $175 per child versus Mom’s $135 per child is large, but so are the costs for parents of young students. The study found that:

  • 61% of parents plan to spend more than $100 per child
  • The average cost of school supplies is expected to be $155 per child
  • 38% of dads plan on spending more this year than they did in 2013

Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada, says school supplies are a burden to parents:

“It’s amazing that parents are spending hundreds of dollars on school supplies for each child,” says Schwartz. “The old days of a few pencils, an eraser and a ruler have been replaced by colour-coded binders, stylish pencil cases and elaborate backpacks. In order to achieve my goal of living debt free, I try to look for savings whenever possible. This helps me to not only save money for myself, but also to teach my children about responsible spending.”

The study also found some interesting facts about the reasons parents make the purchases they do. Respondents offered up the following reasons for making a decision to buy something or not:

  • 28% – price
  • 28% – meeting school requirement
  • 15% – durability
  • 13% – making their child happy

Adrienne Down Coulson, general manager of and a mother of two school aged children says, “Back to school shopping can get expensive but since school supplies are necessary, opportunities for savings are attractive to parents, myself included.”

Consolidated Credit agrees and has compiled the following tips to help parents as they get ready for the start of the school year –

  • Buy as a group – Chances are you have a few neighbours who have school-aged children just like you. Get together and purchase your school supplies in bulk. You’ll end up saving money by getting a better per-unit price.
  • Check with your school board – Depending on where you live, your school board might already be providing a lot of school supplies. Give them a call to find out exactly what you have to purchase. If you can knock a few items off of your list, you’ll be saving both time and money.
  • Include the kids – School supply shopping can be a great learning experience for your kids. Arm them with some flyers and a budget and get them to choose their own school supplies (with you having the final say, of course). You’ll be amazed at how this activity will teach them how to budget and how to manage money.
  • Utilize the three R’s – Reduce, reuse, recycle. At the end of each school year, there is always a surplus of supplies that didn’t get used up. Gather all of those together before buying anything new. If you can find a stack of half-used or unsharpened pencils, you won’t need to buy them at the store. This is a great way for your kids to learn how to save money by making smart decisions.

If you want to learn more about making responsible financial decisions, check out Consolidated Credit’s free Personal Finance educational section. If you’re struggling with debt, call one of our trained counsellors today at 1-888-294-3130 for a free debt analysis.

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