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New Survey from Coinstar Reveals Insights for Back-to-School Budgeting

Nearly 60% of U.S. parents have a back-to-school budget; half see school expenses increasing; highest expense anticipated is clothing
BELLEVUE, Wash. - 
July 12, 2017

A new back-to-school survey released today by Coinstar, a leader in self-service coin counting, shows that the majority of U.S. families (57%) with school-aged children have a back-to-school budget and anticipate clothing to be their highest expense. The Coinstar® survey also found that most parents reward their children for achieving good grades.

“Getting kids ready for the school year can represent a significant expense for families across the United States,” said Sandi Stoller, director of brand strategy and marketing at Coinstar. “Coinstar conducted the back-to-school survey to understand how parents are budgeting for these expenses and to help other families plan and prepare.”

School Expenses on the Rise

The sentiment from U.S. parents indicates that school expenses are escalating, according to the Coinstar survey. Half (50%) of the parents surveyed responded that they thought school expenses were increasing year over year. Another 31% of parents believed expenses were staying fairly consistent and 16% said they thought expenses were in line with where they should be.

Back-to-School Costs and Allocations

The Coinstar survey reported that nearly half (49%) of parents expect to spend between $100 and $300 per child this coming school year. On the higher end, about one-quarter (27%) of parents plan to spend between $300 and $500 per child.

When considering how parents are allocating their back to school budget, the majority identified clothing as the top expense. This was followed by school supplies, extracurricular activities, electronics and tutoring.

Largest Budget Expense Survey Respondents
Clothing 57%
School supplies 18%
Extracurricular activity fees 14%
Electronics 8%
Tutoring 2%


“Seventy-one percent of survey respondents reported that they save coins in a jar or container at home for future use. Most people have more than they think and these hidden funds can easily be applied to school supplies, clothing or other back-to-school items,” added Stoller.

Incentives for Good Grades

The Coinstar survey also asked parents for their views on rewarding their children for good grades. Four out of five parents (81%) say they do offer rewards to their children for positive report cards; however, how parents reward their children differs.

Type of Reward Expense Survey Respondents
Praise to family & friends 45%
Giving a special gift 36%
Offering a special activity 31%
Giving cash reward 27%
Depositing funds into savings or college fund 14%



Survey Methodology

The Coinstar survey was conducted online within the United States by Atomik Research, an independent market research agency, between April 11 and 12, 2017, among 2,020 American adults with children living at home aged 5-18. The survey is representative of the United States population age, gender, and region. Margin of error is +/- 2 percent. Research conducted was in accordance with Market Research Association guidelines and regulations.

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About Coinstar, LLC: Based in Bellevue, Wash., Coinstar owns and operates the largest fully automated, multi-national network of self-service coin counting kiosks. With more than 20,000 kiosk locations, Coinstar provides convenient and reliable coin counting services at mass merchants, grocery and drug stores and financial institutions. Consumer solutions include coin-to-cash, coin-to-eGift card and charity donation options. For kiosk locations and information, visit

Media Inquiries

Marci Maule Housley
Mpact Group
[email protected]