Parents catching a break

Published 5:07 pm Saturday, July 20, 2013

August is slowly creeping up on us, and with it comes another school year.

It is time for a clean slate — a fresh start with new teachers, new school supplies and new clothes. Plenty of adults have remarked on missing those days of school shopping and preparing for the new school year. It is doubtful their parents would agree.

A few things have changed since the days of Peechee folders and Superman lunchboxes, and they have probably changed for the better.

A recent survey by the National Retail Federation found that this year’s crop of bright, eager students are expected to spend nearly 8 percent less on this year’s back-to-school purchases than last year’s record-breaking season.

This season’s total spending is expected to total more than $26 billion. That total does not include the college shoppers, who will shell out about $72.5 billion.

In these tight times, families plan to spend an average of $634.78 on school supplies, clothing and electronics, down from last year’s average of $688.62.

A $600 school budget will hardly have students looking like paupers. In fact, these findings point to smarter spending, not less spending. Families are going to hunt for the bargains and use last year’s school supplies if there is still some mileage left on them. They are going to consider second-hand options for clothing and let those tablets and laptops hold on for one more year.

Parents of Beaufort County students caught a break from a school board that loosened up on a dress code that will allow students to use more of what is already in their closets than ever before.

Gone are the days of $200 sneakers, $500 jeans and a designer label under every collar. Well, good riddance.