The Water Cooler – Back To School Shopping – How Much Will You Spend?

August 10, 2018 12:00 pm · 21 comments


The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon.

Today’s question:

According to experts, the average parent will spend $515 on back-to-school shopping this year for each child they have.

How much money do you expect to spent per child?

Talk about it….

The Mamba August 10, 2018 at 12:05 PM

Hmmm, kind of depends, are you including all the supplies they need to bring to school with them? If not, new shoes and backpacks, so maybe $125? If supplies are included, $250.

Anon August 10, 2018 at 12:10 PM


According to my property taxes. What a rip off. And I don’t even have kids. You’re Welcome.

CDE Watcher August 10, 2018 at 12:45 PM

That number will grow after November. Thank you very much for your kind donation.

Future Kindness August 10, 2018 at 12:46 PM

Do yourself and your child (potentially future entitled, helpless, empty and depressed adult) a favor and get nothing, or just get them the bare basics, no more than $100, $0 is better if you can swing it.

If you don’t already have them: one pair of decent shoes, a simple new backpack and some pencils, maybe one outfit for the first day if their closet isn’t already overflowing with clothes that still fit. Make what they have last longer like we did as kids, that builds priceless lifeskills, gratitude and a resilient character, instead of unknowingly trapping them on that Hedonic Treadmill. As fun as shopping is to some people, there’s no need for a new disposable wardrobe every season, not to mention the downstream global effect of disposable clothes.

Fellow Parents: Don’t let yourselves fall pray to being mindless victims for the Back to School Commercial Hype. Besides, kids really aren’t really paying attention to one another, they are too focused on themselves. This insight was best, most empowering advice I was ever given as a kid, and I have now passed onto my own kidlets. Only we have the power to make ourselves feel inferior.

And what’s with the fancy party dresses for the first day of school nowadays? They have us cracking up, and saddened for the I-Generation.

As much as we can, let’s give the next our generation a gift and get them off the Hedonic Treadmill.

More great insight on the Diderot Effect:

ME August 10, 2018 at 2:57 PM

Nice theory but you can’t get them nothing when the school sends a huge list of school supplies they’re required to bring in on the first day. The only “frivolous” thing we bought was a new backpack because the zippers broke on the old one. Do you have kids? Kids grow fast and even if you make them wear floods eventually they just can’t squeeze into those old clothes. I get your point, which I generally am on board with, but back to school shopping isn’t really optional. The amount you spend is to a limited extent.

T. Payne August 13, 2018 at 1:34 PM

Lets see. New shoes that fit for 3 kids. (They usually don’t wear shoes in the summer, just flip flops) All their old clothes still fit them from last year, so one new shirt to start the year off. Reusing last years back packs unless they were damaged, so 1 new Backpack. So about $150 for 3 kids. No school supply lists yet, but in the past, teachers ask for a donation of $20 to the classroom fund and they get the stuff.

concerned August 10, 2018 at 1:14 PM

I am glad my school years are behind me this will be my 37 year out of High school graduated in 1981

Rob August 10, 2018 at 1:17 PM

I don’t include clothes or shoes since those are needed with or without school and I don’t buy anything “special” for school.

As for the rest – his backpack from last year is fine, he already has the TI calculator…

So probably no more than $50.

Dorothy August 10, 2018 at 1:42 PM

I don’t have to buy school anything anymore. But I do keep an eye during the back to school sales for some things I can put away for Christmas.

Pat August 10, 2018 at 3:06 PM

A better question but I can’t get you to ask it is… How much will your kids’ backpacks weigh in 2 weeks? And who cares?

Jojo Potato August 10, 2018 at 3:13 PM

Backpacks seem like should last. But they don’t. Most of the zippers are crap. I wonder where to get something that will last.

WC Resident August 10, 2018 at 4:49 PM

You can replace the zipper with one that has metal teeth that’ll last longer.

Atticus Thraxx August 10, 2018 at 4:45 PM

Jojo, There is. I’ve been carrying this one around daily for 6 years. It has more airtime in flights than most people I know. Not one problem.

Swiss Gear LEGACY Checkpoint Friendly Backpack

Barbie Girl August 10, 2018 at 9:50 PM

Love Swiss Gear Backpacks. My sons has lasted for four years and it still looks good. As far as zippers are concerned, for the cheap Jansport ones…..we go to the shoe repair shop on Main St. Walnut Creek and have them put in new ones.

Jojo Potato August 11, 2018 at 9:06 AM

Thanks for the zipper tips. That repair shop in WC is a real gem isn’t it? One store left in Walnut Creek that I would actually go to.

wow August 10, 2018 at 5:16 PM

why are you guy so cheap give your kids more than you had. I bet you spend alot on cig or wine you should be embarrassed To the one who said i don’t have kids and paid 440 in taxes. I pay taxes to take care of you when you get old and lonely and don’t have nobody to care for you. also be nice you will be rewarded in life…..

Kinsey Leaky August 10, 2018 at 6:25 PM

$515 where does that number come from? $515 on what?
Back to school requires clothes they already have, shoes they already have, backpack they can reuse, notebooks, pens and misc easily under $50, you people are outa your minds dumpung $500+ on what you think your kids “need” for school. So what the heck is $515 of?

Barbie Girl August 10, 2018 at 10:04 PM

Our kids schools decided no longer to provide laptops to the 10-12 grade students. They use these during class. So this year we have to fork out $$$ for laptops, new shoes, graphic calculators, a binder for each class (7) , not to mention $110. for a yearbook for each kid, class t shirts , $25 for each subject as a “donation” , not to mention $300 per child for the Educational Foundation. And if your kid is a Senior….cha ching!

ClayDen August 10, 2018 at 9:14 PM

Our five kids have long since finished K-12. I don’t remember what we spent, but it was insignificant compared to the tuition for K-8 and really insignificant compared to Carondelet and De La Salle tuition. Then there was college…….

Money well spent though.

Kamelcracker August 11, 2018 at 6:00 AM

My children are of the feline variety and do not require backpacks, clothing, automobiles, cell phones or much else other than their delivery and some poo crumbs for their crap box. No drug problems, probation, or senior prom. I love my best friend’s children and enjoy their accomplishments but I am not feeling envious of being a parent. Spend your $515 wisely. I will be investing my $515 to pay me back.

Hmm August 12, 2018 at 6:33 AM

Jansport backpacks have a lifetime guarantee. If any part of them break, they will fix or replace free. All you pay is a nominal shipping fee.

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