How Much Do You Plan To Drop On Back to School Clothes and Supplies?

Happy August! It’s time to start shopping for back to school clothes, shoes, backpack and supplies. According to the National Retail Federation 2011 Consumer Intentions and Actions Back to School survey, the average American family will spend $603.63 on clothes, shoes, supplies and electronics, compared to $606.40 last year. Total spending on grades K-12 is expected to reach $22.8 billion.

I am lucky to get beautiful hand-me-downs from a friend, which saves me lots of money each year, but it’s still not cheap to dress two girls. It’s the shoes that cost so much!

How much do you plan to spend for each child this year? Take our poll…

(Photo: Flickr)

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  1. with rumblings of School Uniform requirements making their way into the suburban communities of Essex County the tradition of running to mall for the latest styles might be fading fast; the Town clerk in Nutley recently told the school board that a dress code must be put in place to “counter-strike against the powerful influence of an increasingly aggressive popular culture.” Yikes!

  2. What a dumb question…

    How much?


    If the school says the kids need hovercrafts, I’m on it. Solid gold crayons and silk Kleenexes- NO PROBLEM.

    And EVERYTHING must be new. Not just new, but new-new. So new it comes in boxes from Amazon with that impossible to cut-though shrink-wrapped plastic. NEW!!

    Clothes? C’mon. I have a son, so he MUST be outfitted in the most fashionable low-slung jeans (yes, in 3rd grade) and graphic Tee.

    Shoes? Sneakers. They must be “funky-fresh,” I’m talking F-R-E-S-H!!! Throwback Air Jordans, All-Stars, Pro-Keds, and the newest Nike’s.

    As far as electronic devices. Now’s the time to upgrade EVERYTHING 3D-DS, iTouch, X-Box, Playstation, Macbook Air, HOVERCRAFT, casio calculator, etc.

    From this, you can see that my budget is about $2,500.

    Hopefully, that will be enough to ensure he gets a good education because we all know- Money/Clothes/Electronic=Education.

    Despite what MATT DAMON says:

  3. Yea john, and let’s make sure the boys cut their hair and the girls wear skirts and pearls!!

    I used to flirt with the idea of school uniforms, but I now regard it as a failure of “Adults” to see that kids are, just as they’ve always been, kids. The freedom to choose their “style” is nothing more than their freedom of self expression and experimentation.

    And I will not be on the side of stifling a kid’s self-expression.

    Moreover, this idea of kid’s wearing “suggestive” clothing is NOT new. There’s a great scene in “Super 8”, which takes place in the late 70’s where a girl has on daisy-dukes and her father tells her to roll the hem down. She says, but dad all the girls are wearing their shorts this way. Dad says “No daughter of mine….”

    It’s a shame that same daughter is now telling her kid the same thing.

    Let the kid’s hike up their shorts/skirts, or let their pants ride low— who cares? I imagine if you left the kid’s alone, styles would simply change and they’d move on. Instead, you make a big thing out of it and the wear it to SPITE YOU.

  4. I love the idea of school uniforms. I saw first hand the change in behavior at a school I worked at when the kids had “Business Day” once a month and wore shirts, ties, khakis (boys) and button down shirts and skirts (girls). These same children who were in this out-of-district placement school for behavior issues, behaved much differently when they were out of their regular clothes.

    Kids have plenty of time for self-expression when they’re not in school.

    And really prof? “It’s a shame that same daughter is now telling her kid the same thing.”

    Forgive me, but that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard.

  5. I agree Georgette.

    School uniforms should make a return. Kids need limits and boundaries to feel secure. Our culture places way too much emphasis on a kid’s “self expression” rather than hard work.

  6. Didn’t chairman Mao and Erik Honneker want all the kids to dress the same when they came to power? 🙂

    The motications behind the Nutley lady (cited above with link) sounds more like a reaction to the fear of the outside world than a pro-education stance. The idea of a counter strike against popular culture has me wondering what is going on in Nutley – did someone go all Lady Gaga and, instead of a meat dress, go to class in a boostier made of sausage from Garruto’s?

  7. The most ridiculous?

    Really? The idea of parents quickly turning into their own parents once they have kids is the MOST ridiculous thing you’ve heard? (Certainly this isn’t the first time you’ve encountered this idea?).

    “[L]imits and boundaries to feel secure”? Security in a pair of khakis and a blue polo shirt?


    Kids don’t fail at school because of a lack of uniforms. And uniforms don’t provide security. (Though wearing Blue in a Bloods neighborhood might…). Limits and boundaries are supplied by enforcing rules that most schools already have. The issue here is what it always has been- kids pushing the envelope and schools enforcing rules. In the old days, Principals were good at this stuff and wouldn’t allow little Lady Gaga’s to walk around. Now… Not so much.

    Are there uniforms in Millburn? Looking over the top NJ schools it seems only McNair Academic has a “uniform” rule (business attire!!).

    And yes. Crazy. Self-Expression is important within school. The idea that our “culture” has too much of it is at odds with teen pregnancies in the U.S. at a record low and Youth Violence is down since 1995 (from the CDC).

    But I give. I don’t want to be ridiculous with all this self-expression/freedom stuff. HELL– Dress Codes (and Tests) for everyone!!!

    Once we do that….. The kids will learn.

    Who knew? All these educators researching all these theories and the answer is khaki’s and a blue polo shirt.

  8. It’s not the “idea” of kids turning into their parents that is ridiculous–that’s the norm–it’s your idea that it’s a shame.

    The way it should work is that you grow up and become a parent and gain the sense and life skills that you didn’t have as a kid, which you then take and teach your kid.

    I did some crazy things and made some outrageous fashion choices as a kid. I certainly didn’t want my mom to be all “cool” and say, “I love your mini-skirt and fishnet stockings Georgette! You look hot!” No, I wanted her to say, “You have got to be out of your mind if you think I’m letting you out of the house with that on!”

  9. what I find interesting is that there’s a ‘dress code’ at the HS and no one seems to adhere to it. Shorts that reach your fingertips? hah! No staps showing? puh-leeze! so far I don’t think my girl has hidden in the shrubs to change clothes on the way to school in the morning but I have to take some small credit for teaching her that “smutty” does not necessarily mean “cool”.

    the big ‘banned’ item in my day was “dolphin shorts” – nylon running shorts that had a little upside-down V on the sides and a dolphin on the front. (did y’all have them here?) They were really short and it was probably a wise idea to ban them…. OH and shirts with pot leaves on them were banned too.

    As for shopping: I will try to keep it to a bare minimum because (a) whatever we buy now will invariably not be in style and therefore will get banished to the junk drawer by September 12th. (b) my son seems to grow out of his shoes in about 6 weeks or less, so if there are no holes in the sneakers, he will not get another pair until circumstances are dire.

    At least we have finally gotten over the ‘must have a new backpack every year’ thing. Use it til it breaks, I always say!

  10. Yes. A shame.

    A shame when an adult fails to realize that DESPITE all the “bad” things they did as kids (fishnets?? Call the cops!), they end up screaming at their own kids just like their parents.

    That’s a shame.

    But go ahead. Yell at your little girl when she shows up in a “mini-skirt and fishnet.” I’ll bet she’ll end up writing wonderful things about you in a blog.

  11. Go ahead, take your digs at my blog prof.

    Actually, the times that my parents “parented me” and set appropriate rules and structure for me, are the times that I appreciate about them. It was when they made me feel secure and loved, even when I didn’t know it at the time.

    The times that they tried to be the “cool” parents or when they didn’t parent me are the times that I have issues with personally.

    But, like always, you post comments on here about how perfect a parent you are in every way. How you, unlike every other parent, knows the key to being perfect. How your choices are the best, and any other opinion or choice of parenting is wrong or a shame.

    You go ahead doing what you do prof. Let me know how little prof turns out.

  12. Not a penny !!!

    He is a CPA and in his last year of Law School. Major “dues” have long ago been paid.

  13. I went to a public school with uniforms and would LOVE them to be brought back. It is so much easier for parents – no arguing in the morning about what to wear. It is a great leveler for rich and poor kids. It is also much easier to spot kids out in town when they are in places they should not be. I don’t buy the self-expression thing, as most kids dress the same any way. Kids have weekends for that.
    And the only new thing will be buying for back to school is lunchboxes.

  14. The times that they tried to be the “cool” parents or when they didn’t parent me are the times that I have issues with personally.

    Interesting! Examples please.

    A very wise friend once told me that parenting is the one job at which you’re guaranteed to fail. I am a living testament to the truth of this line. My kids are wonderful, I am the luckiest person on earth, but still…

    Hey prof, wait til the little prof hits adolescence. Hoo boy.

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