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WalletHub Back-to-School Survey: 71% of parents say COVID-19 has affected their spending

The personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2020 Back-to-School Report, which includes the results of a new nationwide survey as well as picks for this year’s Best Credit Cards for Back-to-School Shopping. WalletHub’s back-to-school resources also include a Sales-Tax Holiday Calendar, highlighting the best times to buy in each state. You can find some key takeaways from the report below.

  • 71% parents say that COVID-19 has changed their attitude toward back-to-school spending.
  • Nearly 4 in 5 parents say they will spend the same or less on back-to-school shopping compared to 2019.
  • 3X more moms than dads say they won’t do any back-to-school shopping this year.
  • Almost 4 in 10 parents think schools are not doing enough to support their communities.
  • The job market is parents’ number one concern for their kids upon graduation, followed by debt.
  • Sales tax holidays will be held in 16 states at different times during July and August, offering savings of up to 7.00% on popular back-to-school items.
  • 2020’s best credit cards for back-to-school shopping are:
    • AmEx Blue Cash Preferred (Best Overall)
    • Capital One Savor (Best Initial Bonus)
    • Citi Double Cash (Best for Cash Back with No Annual Fee)
    • Amazon.com Credit Card (Best for Online Shopping)
    • U.S. Bank Platinum (Best for 0% APR)

Q&A with WalletHub

How will COVID-19 affect back-to-school shopping?

“COVID-19 will affect every aspect of back-to-school shopping, from where we shop to what we buy and how much we spend. For example, more than 7 in 10 parents say COVID has changed their attitude toward back-to-school shopping, according to WalletHub’s latest survey, and 44% of parents now plan to spend less than they did during the 2019 back-to-school shopping season, with some expecting to eliminate back-to-school spending entirely. New supplies simply may not be necessary if school starts remotely, and many families are struggling financially right now,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Despite how novel this situation is, it’s still important to attempt to maintain some semblance of normalcy for the kids’ sake. Back-to-school shopping is an important ritual, and parents should send other signals about the coming shift from summer fun to schoolwork if they don’t plan to do any shopping.”

Are schools doing enough to support their communities in this time of need?

“More than 6 in 10 people believe that schools are doing enough to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools have continued to provide important services – such as meals for underprivileged children – in addition to educating students remotely,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “The thing is, no one really expected the pandemic to last so long, and with a new school year set to start remotely in many places, it’s understandable that parents are getting frustrated, as evidenced by the almost 4 in 10 people who think schools are not doing enough for the community. After all, most schools have not offered solutions for parents who cannot work if their kids are not in school, while other parents feel their kids don’t get enough personalized attention when learning remotely. ”

How can parents save money on back-to-school shopping?

“People need to minimize their spending to the absolute essentials during these challenging times, so the best approach to saving money on back-to-school shopping is to start by crossing some items off your list. Then, one of the best ways to save money on unavoidable back-to-school expenses is to take advantage of your state’s sales tax holiday. Sixteen states waive the sales tax on popular back-to-school items for a few days in July or August, saving shoppers 4% to 7%,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst. “Parents planning to spend a lot on back-to-school shopping should consider applying for a new credit card to use for the occasion. The best back-to-school credit cards offer hundreds of dollars in rewards or interest savings.”

Should parents change their attitude toward investing in education in light of COVID-19?

“Parents should absolutely rethink how they invest in their kids’ education in light of COVID-19 because we are dealing with a very different educational environment now. COVID clearly makes education much more challenging, especially for young kids, which is why many parents are considering moving to a different school district, putting their kids in private school, or enlisting family members and friends to fill in gaps left by the pandemic in areas such as childcare and tutelage,” said Jill Gonzalez, WalletHub analyst.

This article was released by WalletHub.