| July 27, 2009

Debt problems may lead to less school shopping

A new survey shows that parents are planning on spending less this year when it comes to shopping for school supplies.

According to the survey conducted from America’s Research Group (ARG) and UBS, 34.4 percent of responding parents said they plan on spending less money on back-to-school items. One factor cited by respondents is dealing with debt problems, with 40.5 percent saying they have higher debt.

The amount of money parents have is also a factor, with 41.8 percent saying they have less than they have had in the past. Another 8.2 percent are cutting back on spending because they are mindful of the possibility they may lose their jobs.

"Back-to-school spending will be a minor blip on the radar screen for retailers this year," C. Britt Beemer, CEO and founder of ARG, said.

Beemer said that spending for back-to-school items will drop between 8.5 percent to 12 percent as compared to last year.

Another recent survey by Deloitte LLC gives a slightly more positive picture for retailers. According to the survey, 64 percent of respondents plan on spending less on school shopping, down from the 71 percent who said the same last year.

Whatever consumers do they need to avoid temptation and leave the kids at home when they do their back-to-school shopping. Parents will get through the store a lot faster without the kids. Consumers need to avoid using credit cards as well. If someone charges $548.72 on a credit card with a 14.99 percent APR and only makes the minimum payments of $15 per month, it is going to take them four years and one month to pay off that back-to-school purchase. They will end-up paying $176.57 in interest.

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