ROCKVILLE, Md., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Back-to-school shoppers will spend
an average of $5,423 getting ready for the new school year, according to a
survey by Myvesta.org, a nonprofit financial solutions organization, and
Capital One Financial Corporation, a financial services company.
"Back-to-school shoppers need a reality check. Most people don't plan to
spend $5,000, but in reality they might," said Steve Rhode, president and co-
founder of Myvesta.org.
"Back-to-school shopping is more than just pens and paper," Rhode added.
"People need to be honest with themselves about the full range of expenses,
including computers, clothing, transportation, sporting equipment and more."
In addition, back-to-school shoppers were asked if they would make any of
their purchases this year via the Internet. Just over half (51.6 percent) of
back-to-school shoppers said they will browse the Internet for information
about products, while only one in four (25.5 percent) said they will make at
least one purchase online.
According to Capital One, shopping online with a credit card is not only
safe and convenient; it offers consumers tools for managing their back-to-
school purchases. The Internet offers shoppers access to hundreds of sites,
making comparison-shopping easier and faster than ever. In fact, Greenfield
Online's Shopping Index VIII for the first quarter of 2000 reveals that 46
percent of all consumers find the lowest price for items online.
During the Myvesta.org/Capital One survey, 1,002 people were asked about
back-to-school purchases for themselves, members of their families and/or
others. Their average spending for each of seven categories included:
* Electronics: $591
(Computers, printers, software, calculators, beepers, cell phones,
* Clothing: $540
(Coats, shoes, uniforms, backpacks, accessories, etc.)
* Fees: $2,457
(Application fees, tuition, health assessments, deposits, etc.)
* Sporting activities: $392
(Equipment, jerseys, sporting uniforms, coaching fees, etc.)
* Dorm room supplies: $181
(Bedding, towels, toiletries, refrigerators, cooking supplies, etc.)
* Desk supplies: $142
(Pens, pencils, notebooks, books, reference materials, etc.)
* Transportation: $1,610
(Air, bus and rail travel, car purchase, subway passes, etc.)
* Total for back-to-school: $5,423
(The average of all responses.)
"On the Web or in person, don't let back-to-school expenses sneak up on
you," cautioned Rhode. "Too many people will go shopping without thinking of
the total cost. Using a credit card will add convenience and security to the
transaction, but people need to be prepared to pay off the bill in a
reasonable amount of time or the debts will become unmanageable."
For example, if a shopper puts $5,423 in school purchases on a credit card
with a typical interest rate of 17.99 percent and pays only the minimum each
month, it will take 48 years to pay off the debt. Paying just the minimum
over that amount of time quadruples the debt to a total of $20,843.
"There's a big and very clear lesson here, pay more than just the minimum
payment every month," Rhode urged. "If you get a raise or find a little extra
money in your pocket, apply it to your debt."
Myvesta.org is holding a contest to find the thriftiest back-to-school
shopper. Send money-saving ideas to: Thrifty@myvesta.org or Back-to-School
Contest, P.O. Box 8587, Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8587. Entries will be accepted
until Sept. 8. Winners will be announced Sept. 20 and will receive a $100
American Express Gift Cheque, along with gift packs from Myvesta.org and
Capital One. For more information, visit Myvesta.org.
The survey was conducted between July 21 and 23. Additional results
* Sixty percent of American adults will make at least one back-to-
school purchase this year, 20 percent will shop for themselves, 40
percent for their child or children and 30 percent for another
student in their life. (The numbers don't add up to 100 percent
because some people answered yes to more than one category.)
* The percentage of online buyers for each category includes,
electronics -- 22 percent; dorm room supplies -- 16 percent;
clothing -- 14 percent; sporting goods -- 14 percent; desk supplies
-- 11 percent; transportation -- 10 percent; fees -- 9 percent.
* In all categories but electronics, men were more likely to make an
* The percentage of online browsers (will look but not buy) for each
category includes, electronics -- 29 percent; clothing -- 23
percent; sporting goods -- 20 percent; desk supplies -- 19 percent;
transportation -- 18 percent; fees -- 15 percent.
Myvesta.org(TM) is a national, nonprofit financial solutions organization
headquartered in Rockville, Md. Founded in 1994, Myvesta.org has helped more
than four million people through its programs and educational resources. The
organization is committed to helping people resolve past financial mistakes,
manage current financial responsibilities and find financial peace of mind.
Myvesta.org's programs and services include debt management, crisis
resolution, online bill management, creditor problem resolution, coaching and
Financial Recovery Counseling. Prior to April 2000, Myvesta.org was known as
Debt Counselors of America(R).
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia, Capital One Financial Corporation
(NYSE: COF) is a financial services company whose principal subsidiaries,
Capital One Bank and Capital One, F.S.B., offer consumer lending products.
SOURCE Capital One Financial Corporation; Myvesta.org
CONTACT: Nancy Ness Judy of Myvesta.org, 301-762-5270, ext. 124/