How has this economy impacted your back to school experience?

In the last two years we’ve seen how the recession has had a large impact on employment, finances, homes, and families. People have had to cut back on expenses in several ways–they’ve also had to re-prioritize the way money is spent. Families have had to come together more–financially and emotionally. Lay-offs, spending hours applying to jobs–some where we are very overqualified–and typical one income families turning into two income families based on a financial squeeze. Needless to say the economy has effected all of us, one way or another, and though the impact has not quite been the same for each and every person, we all KNOW that the economy has posed a variety of issues for MOST. We also know that economy has had a direct effect in education–from declines in fundraising, to schools filing bankruptcy, and so on. And with school starting this month, I’m curious about how the economy has impacted the “typical” back to school preparation.

Back to school season is a time where adults are gathering school supplies, hauling kids to the mall for clothing, and/or going to bed bath and beyond and Kohls for dorm shopping. Or so this is how it was when I was still in school. Nowadays especially with the economy the way it is, I wonder how many families can afford to spend money on the school supplies needed for their children to attend class, or buying the furniture that their first time college child needs for his/her dorm. I wonder how many students are starting the school year in a brand new outfit?

Thinking back to when I was a child, I remember that I hated when school was getting ready to start, but I enjoyed shopping for clothes, school supplies, and preparing for the “big” first day. And when I entered college, every August I was at Bed Bath and Beyond looking for a cover, towels, a shower tote, and a cute chair. No matter how old I was, I was always at the mall–weeks prior to the school season starting–shopping for at least 7-10 new outfits so that I start the school year off with a “bang”.

But looking at my younger sister who is starting school in three weeks, as a college Freshman, her experience is vastly different from mine. She doesn’t have as much money as I did to “shop”. My parents have placed her on a budget–one that will make it difficult for her to everything she needs. On the other hand, last weekend stores were allowing students to purchase clothing and school supplies without taxes as long as the student had a student I.D. additionally there seems to be a flurry of savings and “sales” that are available to her that weren’t available to me.

Since I’m not in school and haven’t been in a couple of years, I’m curious as to how the economy has impacted your back to school experience.

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