Parents feel more pressure to spend money during this time of the year than the holidays

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Back-to-school is a stressful time of year. The end of summer signals the start of another educational cycle, a new grade for your children with limitless possibilities. Whether it’s the first semester away at college or the first day of first grade, parents are feeling the burden in their pockets.

Whether it’s new clothing, binders, and pencils, or buying the first scientific calculator, overspending is becoming a problem and nearly half of parents feel pressured to overspend on back-to-school shopping, according to a new study by Bankrate.

The survey, which included more than 1,500 parents, found that 43% of parents who have been back-to-school shopping felt pressured to overspend on the latest gizmos and gadgets for the upcoming school year. The number was even higher for parents with children under age 18, with 51% saying they fell under the new school year pressures.


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“For many parents, back-to-school shopping can be just as daunting as the holiday shopping season, and the pressure to overspend – whether from your own children, social media or somewhere else – can wreak havoc on a budget,” said Ted Rossman, an industry analyst at Bankrate. “It’s important to identify your spending triggers and set limits.”

In a previous study, Bankrate found that 57% of parents felt pressured to overspend during the holidays on their kids under age 18 in 2018. But in general, nearly half of Americans feel pressured to overspend in an effort to look successful toward others.

Back-to-school budgeting can be difficult, but experts advise to set up a budget in order to fight off impulse buys.

“Set realistic spending parameters so you get the items you need without going overboard,” said Spencer Stephens, financial planner and founder of Rooted Interest Financial Planning, in a press release. “If you feel the need to buy your kid a new outfit, go into the store with a planned amount to spend so you can fight off impulse purchases.”