I hope all of you had a wonderful back-to-school week last week and now let’s take a closer look at those numbers again. This year it all comes down to crunch time. The back-to-school spending is all about need and the best way you can save money. Moms are being challenged to find the best deals out there for their kids.

Consumer confidence is ever so low about the economy these days, but that will not stop parents to get the best for their kids for school in 2011. Back-to-school spending isn’t expected to be as strong as when the economy was in full speed,but it still remains to be the 2nd largest spending period behind the Holiday season. The National Retail Federation (NRF) is forecasting total back-to-school (K-12) and back-to-college sales of $68.8 billion, an increase of 2.5% over last year, but spending per family is expected to decline in both cases as parents replenished many of their children’s needs last year and 43.7% said the economy is forcing them to simply spend less in general.

Back to School Spending Categories:

Back to School Spending Reasons:

Back-to-school is the second largest seasonal shopping event, but really it is not showing any strength and it is really more out of necessity. New numbers from the National Retail Federation show a dip in the expected spend. This year’s average spend for families with kids in grades K-12 is $603.63. Last year, the figure was 606.40 and that includes apparel, school supplies and electronics.

The NRF expects total back-to-school (K-12) spending to climb 6.8% over 2010 to $22.8 billion, but spending per family to decline by 0.5% to $603.63 as increases in purchases of electronics (4.3%) and shoes (1.6%) will be offset by declines in school supplies (-7.7%) and clothing (-2.2%).

NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay says, “Families aren’t opposed to spending on what they need, but parents want their children to take a good look around at what they already have before deciding what to buy for back to school this year.”

So as every mom searches for the best deal, it’s the kids who are going to choose the style, color and logo for their back-to-school style. Parents will be spending a bare minimum and waiting until the last minute to shop to find the best bargain out there. Here’s how moms are saving money. They will look for more value as they will buy store-brand or generic items. There will be a lot comparison shopping, shop for last minute sales. On some cases they will go for reusing older clothing for this year meaning spending in categories like clothing and school supplies will decrease slightly this year. According NFR surveys, nearly 30% of those surveyed said they would be making do with last year’s school items.

Do you have tips for other parents on how best to tackle issues in back-to school spending ? Tell us more in the comments.