Study: Back-To-School Shopping Is Money Lesson Time

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Back-to-school shopping is a great time to plant budget basics in teenage minds, a new survey suggests.

Fewer than half of teens say their parents have helped them learn to budget money, a new study says.

In contrast, 69 percent of parents in a Capital One survey say they are doing enough to educate their kids about money management. A similar number say they’ve discussed back-to-school shopping and needs versus wants with them.

You can guess how well that went over with the kids by looking at the survey results. Here’s what teenagers identified as their top priorities for making back-to-school shopping decisions:

  1. Style and appearance — 46 percent.
  2. Price — 22 percent.
  3. Brand name — 19 percent.
  4. Quality — 10 percent.

Once again, parents don’t see it that way. Forty-seven percent of parents say price is the most important factor, followed by quality (36 percent). There’s also the perennial debate over where to shop: Forty percent of parents plan to go to discount retailers, and 29 percent plan to shop in department stores. “For teens those numbers flip,” the survey says.

One in five teens also think smartphones and computers are “must-have” supplies, while only 4 percent of parents agree. Sound familiar?

“Parents can further [teen money skills] by building a shopping budget with teens, discussing priorities and trade-offs, and comparison shopping together to get the best deals,” Shelley Solheim, Capital One’s financial education director, said in a press release. Only about a quarter of teens have summer jobs, the survey says, and most don’t expect to help pay for school shopping.

Bringing them into the budgeting process by asking them to contribute money and research prices can make their expectations more realistic, the study suggests. Money lessons that go beyond back-to-school, such as savings plans and how to pay bills on time, can help shape their adult attitudes about money, it says.

Are your kids involved in planning back-to-school shopping? What do you do to teach them about money? Share your ideas on our Facebook page.

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