Updated July 3, 2013

Infographic: Back to School Statistics

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Students and parents across America are collectively rejoicing and groaning simultaneously. Rejoicing because they are getting their independence back, groaning because of the expense of getting that independence.

Yes, we’re talking back-to-school, and as the numbers reveal, helping your kids get back in the classroom may be quite costly for families this summer. Thankfully, the investment may payoff big for your kids and there are plenty of ways you can offset the numbers revealed in this infographic.

Infographics: Back to School 2011
Infographics: Back to School 2011 © CreditDonkey

Making the investment

Families, states and the federal government all make big investments in our kids, as revealed by the steep costs of anticipated school supplies and the amount that’s being spent per student by the government.

From traditional supplies like notebooks and pencils to trendy fashions and expensive electronic items, families are spending $250, $500 and even more when gearing up for the school year. Thankfully, the government is stepping up to the plate, investing its share of money into our students. In 2009, the average annual government expenditure per student was $10,499.

Seeing the investment pay off

The overall investment made on American students is quite a bit to say the least. Thankfully, that investment pays off for students in their future careers. When studying the average annual earnings of Americans in 2008, it was found that workers ages 18 and older with a high school diploma earned a $31,283, those with a bachelor’s degree earned $58,613 and those with an advanced degree earned $83,144. American workers who did not have a high school diploma only earned $21,023.

Ways to offset the investment

Families who plan ahead can save quite a bit of money on back-to-school expenses. With a little bit of planning and foresight, parents could have extra money in their back account to get a jumpstart on Christmas shopping.

Here are some tips to offset the hefty school investment:

  • Make a list (and stick to it). Kids are bound to ask for unnecessary extras. While whining can frazzle the nerves, a larger than expected checkout expense can cause much more stress.

  • Take advantage of coupons and loyalty rewards. Stores are looking to win your business during this hectic shopping season. Pay attention to the coupons in your mailbox and map out your shopping route to make sure you get the most savings. Many stores now have loyalty cards, too, that will get you extra savings and earn you future rewards.

  • Embrace the rewards credit card. If there are purchases that you must make, you might as well pay for it with a rewards credit card. With these cards, each dollar you spend translates into rewards points. These points can be cashed in for cash-back, gift cards, airfare, hotel rooms and merchandise. They might not save you money up-front but they can really pay off down the road.

  • Research lunch programs and other state and federal programs. With families experiencing salary and benefits cuts due to the recession, it can be tough to cover all of the kids’ school needs. If your budget tightened up this summer, you may consider looking into the National School Lunch Program, which provides school-aged children free or reduced-price lunches; 31.3 million kids took advantage of this program in the 2009 school year alone.

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