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New Survey: More Than Four-in-10 Working Mothers Expect To Spend More This Back-to-School Season, Citing Biggest Expense As Clothing And School Uniforms

Forty-one percent of working mothers expect to spend more this year on back-to-school shopping than they did last year, while almost half (48 percent) plan to spend about the same, according to a new poll released today by Working Mother magazine and Chase Slate. Over half (53 percent) of working mothers attribute their spending level to the rising cost of school supplies, and 46 percent expect clothing and school uniforms to be their biggest expense. Surprisingly, 69 percent of working mothers surveyed plan to do most or all of their back-to-school shopping in-person, with three-in-10 (31 percent) planning to buy all of their school items in-person.

The Working Mother-Chase Slate Back-to School survey was fielded among 820 back-to-school shoppers, with 302 working mothers represented. The nationwide survey focused consumer sentiment around back-to-school season and anticipated expenditures for the upcoming school year.

Work/Life Balance

Almost a third (28 percent) of working mothers cite balancing work and children’s needs as their biggest challenge for the upcoming school year, compared to 21 percent of back-to-school shoppers overall.

According to the survey, more than a third (37 percent) of working mothers are planning on making changes to their work schedules to accommodate their children’s needs. Instead of working fewer hours, working mothers are planning on adjusting their schedules to better fit their children’s while still keeping the same total hours at work. Of those planning to change their schedules, 85 percent said they are somewhat or very comfortable with the change.

"Our survey shows that working mothers are putting flexibility to work for them -- and that they are confident that they can successfully meet the demands on them as a mom and employee,” Jennifer Owens, editorial director, Working Mother Media, said. “This data sheds light on the many ways working moms tackle this stressful season, such as shopping online and adjusting work hours to meet their child care needs. It's interesting to note that between opportunities to buy in bulk and save on shipping costs, working moms report that in-person shopping is still an important tactic when it comes to getting their children ready for school.”

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