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2005 Back to School Season is Around the Corner, Capital One Annual Survey Finds Parents Need to Talk Dollars and Cents

July 18, 2005 at 9:51 AM EDT
When It Comes to Back to School Spending, Teen Girls Are Ahead of the Financial Curve

MCLEAN, Va., July 18, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Capital One Financial's (NYSE: COF) fifth annual back-to-school shopping survey shows that parents are missing the perfect opportunity to talk to their kids about making the most of their shopping dollars. This year's survey finds that more than 83 percent of high school and middle school students expect their parents to join them on back- to-school shopping trips, but an overwhelming 91 percent say their parents have not taken the time to discuss their back-to-school finances with them. The survey also finds that nearly 60 percent of parents will spend more than $125 per child on back to school costs this year, yet only a quarter of them are taking the time to discuss back to school budgeting.

For the first time, this year's survey found surprising differences in teen girls' and boys' knowledge of money matters. Findings show that girls are more accurate in judging how much their parents will spend on back to school items -- 33 percent of girls responded more than $125 compared to just 25 percent of boys. When it comes to contributing to back to school necessities, more girls (53 percent) reported that they will contribute money to back to school shopping compared to only 48 percent of boys.

"These survey findings prove that parents are missing an opportunity to give their teens one of their first experiences managing money. Developing a budget with their parents and putting the skills to use while shopping allows teens to test their financial judgment skills. It also better prepares them for financial decision-making as an adult," says Diana Don Colby, Director of Financial Education at Capital One.

Does Money Grow on Trees?

When it comes to sharing the cost of back to school shopping, this year's study finds that 50 percent of teens plan to contribute to the bill, with almost 70 percent responding that the money will come from job earnings. Parents plan to pay for back-to-school purchases predominantly with cash (75%), while 30 percent plan to pay using credit.

"More and more young people are earning their own income and wanting to make their own financial decisions. This makes it even more important for them to develop good money management skills early on," adds Don Colby. "By contributing their own funds to back-to-school costs, students have a vested interest in their purchases -- purchases that will range between 'needs' and 'wants.'"

What are they buying?

Traditional school supplies such as notebooks, backpacks, pens and pencils, and clothes top back-to-school shopping lists this fall. Similar to last year, electronic items are not in demand. Less than five percent of parents and only two percent of teens expect to shop for a new computer. In addition, four percent of parents expect to purchase PDAs for their teens.

Financial Education -- What Parents and Teens Can Do To Shop Smart

Capital One offers parents these tips for working with their child to develop good money management skills.

  • Make back to school shopping a family affair: It's a great opportunity for kids to learn valuable hands-on lessons from their parents.

  • Do your homework: Talk to teachers in advance and try to get a list of the required school supplies needed so you can buy in advance (maybe even on sale).

  • Crunch numbers together -- establish a budget: Determine how much you're able to spend in advance and stick to the amount.

  • Make a list: Prepare your shopping list in advance. Try to distinguish between "needs" and "wants" on the list and prioritize the needs first!

  • Shop smart: Make sure you shop around for the best price and the best quality. You want purchases to last.

  • Get more tips (if you need them): Capital One offers a number of resources on budgeting and savings -- and has partnered with national consumer organization Consumer Action to create a full guide for parents called Talking to Teens about Money available at

For additional help, parents and students can visit the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy home page at and search the "clearinghouse" for financial curriculum and education materials.

Survey Methodology

For the Back-to-School poll, Braun Research was engaged to conduct 1071 interviews, 571 interviews with parents of teens age 13-17 and 500 interviews with teens also age 13-17. Many of the teen interviews were with the same household as the adult household interviews. Surveys were conducted by telephone from July 8th through July 12th. The margin of error for the parent interviews is plus or minus 4.1% percentage points. The margin of error for the teens is plus or minus 4.4%. Interviews were monitored at random.

Sampling for this study was conducted using a random digit dialing method covering the 48 contiguous states in the United States. All interviews were conducted using a computer assisted telephone interviewing system. Statistical weights were designed from current year population estimates. These weights were based on the statistical database facilities of Claritas, the leading analytical database provider of Census based statistical demographic data.

About Capital One

Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation ( is a bank holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Capital One Bank, Capital One, F.S.B. and Capital One Auto Finance, Inc. offer a variety of consumer lending products. Capital One's subsidiaries collectively had 49.1 million accounts and $81.6 billion in managed loans outstanding as of March 31, 2005. Capital One is a Fortune 500 company and, through its subsidiaries, is one of the largest providers of MasterCard and Visa credit cards in the world. Capital One trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "COF" and is included in the S&P 500 index.

SOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation

Alison Athay, +1-206-239-0140,, for Capital One Financial Corporation