Bad economy doesn't stop high BTS spending, survey finds

AUSTIN, Texas — Nearly 80% of parents are spending up to $500 for back-to-school shopping, according to a survey by an online coupon site.

RetailMeNot.com announced Tuesday results of a survey that also found more than half of parents prefer to get a head-start on BTS shopping in July and August, rather than waiting until after the school year begins. The study, conducted with Ipsos Public Affairs, surveyed 1,041 adults online who had a child younger than 18 years old from Ipsos and had a 3% margin of error.

"Contributing to the stress, a significant majority of parents are spending hundred of dollars per child on back-to-school purchases in a still-sluggish economy," RetailMeNot Insider senior editor Trae Bodge said. "Parents should take this opportunity to involve their kids in planning and budgeting for back-to-school expenses to teach the difference between wants versus needs."

The survey also found that 83% of the parents spending up to $500 per child use coupons when they shop. Meanwhile, 22% start their BTS shopping in July, but 32% wait until August. Most of parents' back-to-school budgets are for clothing, which 35% of respondents said would account for most of their spending, while 34% said school supplies would account for at least 30% of spending. More than a quarter said they found BTS shopping routine, including 31% of fathers, and 21% said they found it fun, while 29% found it annoying or stressful; 27% of mothers said they found BTS shopping fun, compared with 13% of fathers, and 15% of fathers found it annoying, compared with 8% of mothers.