Back-To-School: Parents and Teens Don’t See Eye to Eye on Shopping Lists

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Teens' top priority for back-to-school tech spending isn't necessarily related to enhancing their educational experience.

With summer vacation winding down, back-to-school shopping is in full swing. Are you and your teen on the same page about how your hard-earned money will be spent?

Maybe not. According to a new survey done for, a coupon and cash-back site, parents and their teenage children don’t always agree on priorities for back-to-school spending, particularly when it comes to tech.

Here’s the teens’ list of back-to-school tech must-haves, from the survey:

  • Headphones, mentioned by 52 percent.
  • Smartphone, 43 percent.
  • Laptop, 36 percent.
  • Apps, 26 percent.
  • Tablet, 24 percent.

Now, let’s compare that with what the parents said:

  • Laptop, mentioned by 33 percent.
  • Headphones, 29 percent.
  • Tablet, 29 percent.
  • Smartphone, 20 percent.
  • Apps, 17 percent.

Luckily, all agree that traditional items like notebooks, pens and pencils should be a priority. Ebates said:

When it comes to their most important priorities for back-to-school shopping, 87 percent of parents and 68 percent of teens agree that traditional classroom items such as notebooks, folders, pens and pencils and school clothes are at the top of the list. While other back-to-school staples like book bags or backpacks are also considered critical items by both parents and teens, the survey discovered that 1 in 10 parents (14 percent) include surprising must-haves like immunizations and new haircuts on their checklist.

According to the National Retail Federation, back-to-school shopping is expected to hit $26.5 billion this year for families with children in grades K-12. If you’re looking at ways to save money this shopping season, click here to check out our list of 15 ways to spend less on back-to-school shopping.

What’s on your back-to-school shopping list? Do you and your teenage kids share priorities? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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