Columnist image
Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


It is the most wonderful time of the year! Or so the Staples jingle goes. But in all seriousness, back-to-school shopping is about to kick into gear.

Shopping can be hectic and expensive, and according to a recent survey by eBates, kids may want to hit the malls with their dads who intend to spend $190 per student, compared to moms who plan to find some bargains and spend $178 per student.

Back to school is one of the biggest retail shopping events of the year. It is transition time for everyone. Canadian parents overwhelmingly (97 per cent) say they do things to include their children in back-to-school shopping ranging from 67 per cent bring them along in the store, to picking out products 66 per cent and letting them make a shopping list 58 per cent with nearly half 47 per cent of parents starting good financial habits by making their kids aware of the budget. 

While supplies remain the most popular items, clothing and footwear saw the largest jump since 2014, trailing the pack electronics. 

And when it comes to trying to keep costs down, those parents who are online shopping for back-to-school have several tricks up their sleeves to ensure they get the best possible online deals, including:

  • 69 per cent search retailer websites for deals
  • 46 per cent search for online coupons/promo codes
  • 33 per cent sign up for email notification of sales/promotions
  • 32 per cent use cash back websites

28 per cent use mobile apps to find deals
28 per cent use social media to find deals

​Despite the costs, parents look to the upside of children heading back to the classroom- (35 per cent) getting back on a regular schedule, (29 per cent) getting children back into a learning environment while eight per cent admit that just the kids out of the house is the best aspect of back to school