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Dec 21st

Back to school means helping children learn shopping lessons

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Back to school means helping children learn shopping lessons
It's that time of the year again when newspapers are stuffed with store circulars advertising back-to-school savings. It's that time of the year again when newspapers are stuffed with store circulars advertising back-to-school savings. How do you make appropriate choices for the children that meet their school needs plus the styles they want? How much should you spend?

The National Retail Federation reports that consumers are spending, on average, $232 on back-to-school clothing and accessories this year. Footwear sales are expected to be up 10 percent to $108 per family.

Young people have quite an influence on the back-to-school purchases that adults make during this time of year. In the National Retail Federation survey, 31 percent of parents surveyed indicated that one half of their back-to-school spending is a direct result of the child's influence. This is important to know as you begin back-to-school shopping.

Children's influence on parents' purchasing can be a way to begin a discussion of needed and wanted items for the school year and how they fit into the planned budget. Items that don't fit into the parents' spending plan may provide an opportunity for young people to purchase some additional "wanted" items for the new school year using their own money.

Regardless of the amount parents will be spending, it's important to communicate with the child about the plan, and items the parent feels are necessary purchases. It's also important to provide the child some opportunities to make selections that meet with parental approval and fit within the budget.

We need to provide young people some opportunities to make some decisions, so they begin to learn about consumer decisions they'll make throughout their lives. Back-to-school shopping provides an opportunity for parents to help guide children through that process.

Lori Hendrickson is a family resource management educator with University of Minnesota Extension.
 

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