Parent’s Stress Levels Rise As Kids Head Back-to-School

Back-to-School Shopping Study Finds Half of Moms Have Anxiety Over Packing School Lunches

Mountain View, CA – August 8, 2012 – According to the 2012 Back-to-School Shopping study released today by and conducted by Harris Interactive, American parents are feeling the stress of getting their kids back to the classroom. 50 percent of Moms of school-age children say shopping for and packing school lunches makes them stressed and more than four in five parents of school aged kids (83%) are looking for bargains on back-to-school supplies. commissioned Harris Interactive to field the study, which was conducted online between July 20-24, 2012 among 2,208 U.S. adults.

“Back-to-school time and the changes it brings can wreak havoc on the entire family,” said Jeanette Pavini, Household Savings Expert for “From shopping for new clothes to long lists of school supplies and groceries for lunches, it’s no wonder many parents find this time of year to be a strain on their schedule and their wallet.”

It’s [Not] in the Bag

Kids aren’t the only ones waving goodbye to the carefree days of summer. As the school year ramps up, so too does the stress level of parents trying to figure out what to put in their kids’ lunch boxes and how to afford it.

• More than one in two Moms of school age kids age 35-44 (55%) is stressed out by the idea of shopping for and packing school lunches

• Nearly three-quarters of parents (73%) seek out sales and coupons for groceries due to concerns around rising food prices

• Less than one-half of parents make lunches for their children more than three times a week

• Mr. Mom may be helping reverse this trend; surprisingly men were more likely than women to regularly pack lunch for their kids (55 vs 43%)

• 56% of parents of school age kids go for convenience and purchase pre-made items and snacks rather than making their own to add to a brown bag lunch

• That number rises to over 2 in 3 (69%) among younger parents age 18-34

Head of the Class

Many students eagerly await the back-to-school shopping ritual but for parents, new pencils, backpacks and binders can mean a hit to the household budget.

More than four in five (83%) parents seek out bargains on back to school supplies

• 42% of moms will only buy their kids’ school clothes if they’re on sale or if they have a coupon

• 41% of Moms won’t buy school supplies if they’re not on sale or they don’t have a coupon; this rises to nearly half (48%) among women age 45-54

• 21% of smartphone-owning parents have used a mobile app to save money

“The new school year is an exciting time for most kids and it should be for their parents too,” continued Pavini. “With a little planning, parents can keep both their stress levels and their credit card bills down to make back-to-school enjoyable for everyone.”

Jeanette offers the following tips for school lunches, supplies and clothes:

• Skip pricey ice packs and freeze a juice box or water bottle instead. It saves room and will thaw by lunch.

• Make your own trail mix with pantry leftovers like cereal, raisins, pretzels, fruit snacks and a few candies as a treat.

• Teacher knows best so if an item isn’t on the required school supply list, your child likely doesn’t need it.

• Gather all the back-to-school ads that come in the mail, then shop at a store that offers price matching to get one-stop shopping with guaranteed low prices.

• Keep all your receipts and return anything kids haven’t worn in the first month of the school year. If you live in a warmer climate, wait until later in the fall to find cheaper prices on jeans when most stores are clearing the shelves for holiday inventory.

For more tips on back-to-school savings, go to

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About Incorporated Incorporated is the recognized leader in digital coupons, including online printable, save to loyalty card and mobile promotions. For consumers, the company’s products include, the 43rdst largest website in the U.S.(†), as well as Grocery iQ and mobile applications. For brand marketers, the company distributes digital coupons to millions of consumers through and tens of thousands of websites comprising the digital coupon network. The company also powers digital coupon initiatives in 1-to-1 online marketing campaigns—including display advertising, email and social media programs. For publishers, the company offers solutions to monetize website traffic, including branded microsites, and Brandcaster, a self-service coupons syndication platform. Clients include hundreds of top consumer packaged goods brands (including Clorox, General Mills, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, and Kraft Foods), leading restaurant, toy and entertainment companies, as well as top retailers (such as A&P, CVS, Duane Reade, H-E-B, Kmart, Kroger, Safeway and Walgreens). Founded in 1998, the company is based in Mountain View, CA. To start printing coupons, visit To learn more about the company visit Visit on Facebook at

† Nielsen, June 2012


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of from July 20-24, 2012 among 2,208 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact the Communications team.