Back to School On A Budget

*Please note that this is a sponsored post with Capital One Canada – our disclosure can always be found by clicking here.

With September around the corner, the latest topic at #DoTheDaniel is back to school. Whether it’s Ro getting five-year-old Lincoln ready for full days, or Gemma continuing work on her university degree, which might be one of those online mba programs now, we are all focused on this exciting time of year. It’s why I wanted to take a minute to share some interesting facts about Canadians, and how we sometimes need a reminder that #BackToSchool shopping should be done with a budget in mind – goodness knows we all could save a bit of money while getting prepared for the school year.

Financial education comes with practise. My parents raised me to be responsible about saving money, and to be mindful about living within my means but, we’re all young once. And some lessons have to be learned the hard way. I think there is something really important about talking about spending habits and money. It doesn’t have to be the taboo subject that it once was.

As official Capital One Canada partners, we’ve been learning a lot about the spending habits of Canadians. It’s fascinating to me that most of us don’t actually set aside a budget for back-to-school shopping – and it’s funny that one of the most exciting (and expensive) times of the year doesn’t make us want to control our habits and reel in a little more. It would seem people would prefer to use sites like as it gives them the ability to pay it back at a later date whilst still splurging on the essentials for back to school. Based on recent research, Capital One Canada found that:

  • One third (33%) of Canadian parents do not create a budget when it comes to back-to-school spending.
  • Two out of three Canadian parents (67%) create a budget for back-to school spending, with dads being more likely to create a budget (73%) than moms (63%).

Now the moms vs. dads conversation we can save for another day – but the fact remains that we all could use a little more guidance when it comes to planning. I got a chance to chat with Ro about #BackToSchool shopping for Lincoln and, from our respective experiences, we realized that the following facts are very true:

  • The top 3 causes for parents to go over budget were spending on brand name or trendy clothing items (53%) followed by extracurricular activities (50%) and technology and gadgets (41%).
  • Moms are much more likely to spend on brand name or on-trend clothing (62%) than dads (44%), while dads are significantly more likely to spend on technology and gadgets (53%) than moms (29%).
  • Other notable costs associated with spending over budget include school field trips (34%), sending lunch money instead of packing a lunch (33%), and hot lunches at school (26%).

While we want our kids, and ourselves, to have the “best” for the new school year, it doesn’t mean we have to break the proverbial piggy bank either. I think one of the best tips I could offer, and Ro agrees, is to make a list of items that you need and try your best to not succumb to the “wants” while online shopping or visiting stores in the coming weeks. Online shopping is a great way to do some research, price compare, and find deals too. Most people in today’s world choose online shopping since it is more convenient than going to a physical store. Teenagers, especially are more likely to shop on mobile devices according to these 20 mobile eCommerce statistics (click here to read more).

We had a chance to chat with Capital One Canada about their top three tips for back to school shopping, and this is what they had to say:

1. Be prepared:
An easy way to cut costs through the school year is sending kids with a lunch instead of sending lunch money. Get creative, homemade lunches can be anything from leftovers to DIY bento boxes. This is a great habit to instil in the whole family and one that will help cut costs from early school years into adulthood.

2. Budget, budget, budget:
There are a number of costs that come up through the school year from field trips to hot lunches to broken backpacks. Creating a yearlong school budget in addition to a back-to-school supply budget will help limit surprises throughout the year. Set aside a budget to account for the costs that accumulate through the school year, things that don’t need to be a surprise to your budget, shouldn’t be.

3. Cut costs where applicable:
Stock up on things that you will need and use throughout the year. Buying in bulk can be an efficient means of ensuring you have enough supplies to last the school year and can be easier on your wallet in the long run. For example, you can get cheap stationery to cut costs as well as other things.
So, while I work towards children of my own, and the possibility of going back to school when I start my next chapter, I will take these tips to heart to be mindful of my spending this season, and all year long.

As you would have learned over the course of our partnership with Capital One Canada, for over 20 years, they have been helping Canadians reach their financial goals. Mine include a future family and the things in my life that make me happy. For families and students alike, the same can be said. I know that I am a proud card holder, a responsible(ish) card user and am excited for more content to come right here on #DoTheDaniel as a part of our 2018 collaboration. For more information on Capital One Canada and their range of products suited to your spending (and savings!) needs during back to school shopping, make sure to check out

Of course, I encourage you to join the social media conversation while learning more about your credit options by following @CapitalOneCA on Twitter and Instagram, and @CapitalOneCanada on Facebook. Use and follow the#BacktoSchool hashtag to join in on conversations that are important to have in order to stay informed and stop us from overspending before the school year starts.

For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. We would love to have you join on our adventures!

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Photos: All social media accounts listed above, Capital One Canada & Daniel Reyes Cocka


Daniel Reyes Cocka

Mobile photos were taken with my #HuaweiP20Pro on the Rogers network