Canadian parents spend an average of $507 during back-to-school season — here's what you actually need to buy

Alyssa Tria
Shopping Editor
With the average Canadian spending more than $500 on back to school - what do you actually need?

Even with the many back-to-school sales happening right now, the countdown to September can be one of the most overwhelming time of the year for many parents. With the cost of new clothes and uniforms and finding the best of the best deals and savings on school supplies, shopping can be super stressful and exhausting.

According to a survey conducted by RetailMeNot, many parents will be avoiding the stress of in-store shopping this year, with 35 per cent of parents planning to shop online this back-to-school season.

But even with the convenience of shopping from home, parents still spend hours price comparing to get the best deals on the items they want.

“We know extra time is not a luxury that many parents have and 95 per cent of parents report that time and money are the biggest challenges during back to school shopping,” says Sara Skirboll, Shopping & Trends Expert for RetailMeNot.

According to the site, annually, Canadians spend an average of $507 during the back to school season. Forty five per cent parents spend between $100 to $250 on clothing/accessories and technology for their children, while 38 per cent spends between $50 to 100 on pencils, markers, binders and other classroom supplies.

But have you ever wondered if you’re buying too much? To help you keep your budget in check while gearing up your kids with all the necessities they need to kick off a successful school year ahead, we reached out to Rory McGuckin, director of education, at the Toronto Catholic District School Board for the ultimate back-to-school shopping list.

Ideal for grade 1 through grade 8, here’s what you’ll need to buy.

1. Notebook

“Nothing beats a fresh new notebook at the start of the school year. Your child will no doubt go through more than a few of these throughout their educational journey so keep them coming!”

AmazonBasics Wide Ruled Composition Notebook, 100 Sheet, Assorted Solid Colours

Hygloss Tiny Colorful Blank Books - Notebook, Sketch Pad, Journal for Drawing, Writing and Scrapbooking - 2 ¾ x 4 ¼-inch - 10 per Pack

Shop it: $17, Amazon

2. A pencil case

“Keeps supplies including pencils, rulers, hole-punches, glue sticks and scissors in a designated space for easy access. Make sure it’s big enough to hold supplies but compact enough to keep in their desk and in their backpack.”

Canvas Pencil Case ,Multifunction Large Capacity Stationary Bag Makeup Cosmetic Pen Box with Zipper Travel Storage Organizer Holder

Canvas Pencil Case ,Multifunction Large Capacity Stationary Bag Makeup Cosmetic Pen Box with Zipper Travel Storage Organizer Holder

Shop it: $15, Walmart


“Because we all make mistakes.”

Paper Mate Expressions Eraser

Paper Mate Expressions Eraser, Decorated Erasers, 4-Carded, Assorted Patterns

Shop it: $2, Amazon


“This ensures your little scholars’ lunch won’t get mixed up with their classmates.”

Bentology Lunch Bag and Box Set

Bentology Lunch Bag and Box Set for Boys - Includes Insulated Sleeve with Handle, Bento Box, 5 Containers and Ice Pack

Shop it: $30, Amazon

Compass Set

“Whether your kid is measuring the circumference of a circle or finding the degree of an angle, a compass set is a necessity to succeed in geometry.”

Staedtler Metal Compass Set

Staedtler Metal Compass Set

Shop it: $12, Staples


“A great way for students to up the ante of their note-taking game.”

Bic Brite Liner Highlighter Assorted Chisel Tip 5-pack

Bic BLP51W-Ast Brite Liner Highlighter Assorted Chisel Tip, 5-pack

Shop it: $2 (originally $5), Amazon


“When jumping from Geography to English to Science, it’s important to stay organized. Binders are a great way to organize subjects, assignments and class handouts.”

6 Pack 1"Inch Round 3 Ring Binder View Binders

6Pack 1"Inch Round 3 Ring Binder View Binders with 2 Pockets,Holds 225 Sheets Assorted Colors for Office,Home,Shool

Shop it: $30, Amazon


“From math equations to art creations, pencils are an essential part of every class. Pro-tip: Stock up on plenty of extras because you can never have too many pencils.”

AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack

AmazonBasics Pre-sharpened Wood Cased #2 HB Pencils, 150 Pack

Shop it: $13 (originally $17), Amazon


“Battery or manual, a sharp writing point can make it easier for your student to write and their teacher to grade.”

CNASA Heavy Duty Electric Pencil Sharpener

Heavy Duty Electric Pencil Sharpener, Automatic Sharpener for No.2 and Colored Pencils

Shop it: $11, Amazon


“The most essential item to ensuring your student keeps all those new supplies in a designated and hopefully organized place.”

adidas Originals Adicolor Classic Backpack

adidas Originals Adicolor Classic Backpack

Shop it: $45, Sportchek

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