School's Out: How American Kids "Spend" the Summer

School's Out: How American Kids "Spend" the Summer

Parents to Spend $55 Billion to Keep Kids Active and Educated

Royal Baby Buzz Drives Gender Speculation, More Americans Say "It's a Girl!"

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- As children across the US get knee-deep into the summer, parents expect to spend an average of $856 per child on summer activities, up 40% from 2012, according to the most recent American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. This amounts to an expected $55 billion spent in the US on keeping kids busy, entertained and educated during the off-school months. Additionally, more than a third (35%) of teens sought out summertime employment. Yet, not all spending money will come from summer-time paychecks. Parents are giving kids a hefty raise, as the average weekly allowance rose to $32 per week, up almost 70% from 2012.

Download and view theSpending & Saving Tracker

All summer activities for kids are on the rise, from pool memberships to day camp. The top five activities and anticipated average dollar spend, per child, include:


% of Americans

who plan to spend

% increase

from 2012

Avg. spend

1. Day Trips (e.g. Theme parks):




2. Sports Teams:




3. Pool or Club Membership:




4. Education or Arts Program:




5. Day Camp:




6. Sleep Away Camp:




Working Hard for their Money: Summer Jobs and Chores

While kids play, many teenagers will enter the workforce this summer. Thirty-five percent of parents (up from 32% in 2012) say their teens' primary source of spending money will come from a summer job.

To earn their cash, teens will turn to fast food service (27%), grocery stores (16%), landscaping (15%), babysitting (12%) and waiting tables (11%), and expect to earn an average of $456.

No matter what their summer job plans, 96% of parents say their kids are responsible for summer chores regardless of age. Similar to their responsibilities in years past, kids are expected to handle typical household chores for the summer, including:

  1. Cleaning their room (87%)

  2. Taking out the trash and recycling (65%)

  3. Doing the dishes (57%)

  4. Pet care (56%)

  5. Laundry (38%)

While their chores may stay the same, kids who get allowance can expect a hefty raise and will make nearly 70% more this summer: average weekly allowances have hit $32, up from $19 in 2012. Sixty-five percent of parents say they base allowances on chores completed, but many are placing more weight on grades (45%) and age (42%) when determining allowances, compared to 38% and 37% respectively one year ago.

Planning for their Child's Success

Whether kids and teens earn money through a summer job, good grades or the completion of chores, the overall lesson is the value of a dollar. In theme with the recent American Express LifeTwist study, parents were asked what factors are most important to their child's success in life. Most parents (88%) ranked "knowing how to spend their money well" as the second most important factor to their child's success, preceded only by being in good health (90%). Overall, parents seem to just want their kids to be both financially savvy and live a fulfilling, happy life. The top five contributors to their child's future success, as ranked by parents:

Being in good health


Knowing how to spend their money well


Finding the time for the important things in life


Having a good balance between work and their personal life


Making the time to pursue their passions and interests


Expecting & Expecting to Spend

The royal family isn't the only one expecting this year, and while there's been a lot of attention around how the royal birth will affect consumer spending in the U.K., many American families are expecting newborn expenses of their own. With added family members, comes added expenses, and the expecting expect a 43% increase in monthly household expenses after their new arrival. While they aren't far off, newborn expenses may actually be slightly less - new parents claim their household expenses rose about 39%.

As parents succumb to nesting instincts, they have spent the most on items for the nursery ($263) and baby gear ($226) followed by baby clothes ($150) and supplies such as diapers and baby oil ($139). With 30% of Americans attending baby showers this year, many of these parents can expect some support from friends and family in the form of baby clothes, the preferred gift for most attendees. Baby gear (19%), baby supplies (18%) and baby clothes are favored as gifts by expecting parents.

In addition to supplies, 75% of expecting and new parents are budgeting for some level of childcare. Most will opt for the occasional babysitter (42%) or daycare (40%), while nearly a quarter of Americans (23%) will ante up for a full or part-time nanny.

Expecting or not, Americans eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Royal Baby and many have guesses on the gender. Forty-nine percent speculate that the couple will have a little girl, while 37% predict a bouncing baby boy.

About the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker

The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of 2,200 adults, including the general U.S. population, as well as an Affluent demographic defined by a minimum annual household income of $100,000, and parents with children under the age of 18. Interviewing was conducted by Ebiquity, formerly Echo Research, between June 14 and 19, 2013. The results reported in this release have a margin of error of +/- 2.9 among parents of children under 18 and +/- 4.1 among teenagers (13-17) at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

Key links to products and services: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, business travel, and corporate card.

About Ebiquity Plc

Ebiquity provides independent data-driven insights to global media, marketing and communications professionals to continuously improve clients' business performance. This includes specialized services in research supporting creative testing, brand/advertising tracking, corporate reputation, brand image, research for public relations and thought leadership, global media/social media content analysis, and communications research. Ebiquity acquired Echo Research in May, 2011 and Echo officially started conducting business under the Ebiquity name on July 1, 2013. Learn more at

American Express
Melanie Backs, 212-640-2164

KEYWORDS: United States North America New York


The article School's Out: How American Kids "Spend" the Summer originally appeared on

Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Copyright © 1995 - 2013 The Motley Fool, LLC. All rights reserved. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.