Back to School with VISA and a $50 Giveaway | Toronto Teacher Mom

Back to School with VISA and a $50 Giveaway

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Say what?

Quick! Somebody get me a chair. I just realized today is the first day of September.

Can you believe my daughter starts grade one next week? I also know that some students started school as early as last week. Eek! Truth be told, I am actually looking forward to Back to School. I always have ever since I was a kid and always will for as long as I am a teacher. (I'm a little nerdy that way!) The anxiety I have this year comes with the fact that it just crept up on me. There is still so much I need to do and there isn't enough time to do it. And that includes buying a new backpack for my daughter. I can see you shaking your heads in disappointment. If it's any consolation, I did buy one. It was just too big.

Since our school board is implementing a uniform policy this year, I also needed to buy a new wardrobe for my daughter. Worried that I wouldn't find anything in her size in-store, I turned to the wonderful world that is the Internet. You can find some great savings on sites like This month, I bought some uniform pieces and other Back to School items online. And I'm not the only one.

VISA Canada has done a recent survey on Back to School spending, conducted by Pollara. A total of 1,459 online shoppers were surveyed online between July 18-22, 2011. Before I share the results with you, test your understanding of Canadian online shopping trends by answering the following questions to see if you can predict the findings. Keep your answers covered and your eyes on your own screen. And don't even think of scrolling down to peek at the answers.


1. Canadians plan on spending an average of how much for online back-to-school purchases between July and Labour Day?
A. $120
B. $460
C. $240
D. $60

2. Online and in-store shopping combined for Canadians is estimated to average at how much?
A. $403.89
B. $286.03
C. $130.25
D. $549.78

3. What is at the top of Back to School shopping lists?
A. Travel
B. Books
C. Food
D. Clothing

4. Shoppers cite cheaper prices as the main reason for shopping online rather than shopping in-store.
A. True
B. False

5. On average, what percentage of purchases online will be from Canadian retailers?
A. 25%
B. 84%
C. 53%
D. 73%

6. Who is more likely to shop online for Back to School?
A. Males
B. Females

7. When do most shoppers begin Back to School shopping?
A. June
B. July
C. August
D. September
So how do you think you did? Find out below and then keep reading to learn how you can win a $50 VISA prepaid gift card.


1. C. $240 Shoppers in the Maritimes are planning on spending the least online at $181, while Ontario shoppers are planning to spend the most at $259.

2. A. $403.89 Ontario residents are planning to spend the most, on average, at $447. British Columbians are planning on spending the least, at $362.

3. D. Clothing (48%), travel (45%) and school supplies (41%) are the top three items which shoppers plan on purchasing online before Labour Day.

4. A. Just over half (54%) of shoppers cite cheaper prices as the main reason for shopping online rather than shopping in-store. 93% of back-to-school shoppers look for sales and special offers when
shopping for back-to-school items.

5. D. On average, 73% of purchases online will be from Canadian retailers.

6. A. Males are more likely to shop online for back-to-school, with an average spend of $280, compared to $196 on average for females. In total, males plan on spending an average of $451 on back-to-school shopping this year, compared to $353 for females.

7. C. Most shoppers begin back-to-school shopping in August – with 34% starting in the first two weeks, and 28% starting in the last two weeks. Only 4% of students begin back-to-school shopping in June. Many advise that starting early (45%) is the best suggestion for making back-to-school shopping stress-free, and online shopping is the second most popular suggestion, at 27%.


Add up your total score to determine how savvy you are in terms of Canadian shopping trends. (This is by no means a true assessment. Just something I put together for fun.)

If you got...

0-3 correct: You are likely to leave it up to someone else to do the shopping. You probably carry cash only and wouldn't even fathom purchasing anything through the Internet.

4-5 correct: You dabble in online shopping and are usually on the lookout for deals and savings.

6-7 correct: You could shop online with your eyes closed and probably spend more than you need to. The deals are just too good to miss! (I may or may not fall under this category.)

Okay, all jokes aside. Now is the time to find out how you can win a $50 VISA prepaid gift card. The gift card can be used at any retail outlet that accepts VISA payments, even on VISA’s deal website to get discounts on super helpful stuff like new shoes from SoftMoc, some fall fresh fashions from Gap Kids and school supplies from Scholar’s Choice.

To enter for a chance to win a $50 VISA prepaid gift card, leave a comment on this post sharing your thoughts on the results from the survey. Do you shop online? What types of products do you usually shop for? Be sure to leave an email address where you can be reached if you win.

That's it. That's all.

For this contest, I have decided to give everyone equal opportunity so there is only one entry per person. This contest is open to Canadian residents only and will end on September 9 at 10 pm EST.

Good luck et bonne chance!

Before selecting a winner, I had to remove a couple of late entries. Please note that the contest ended at 10pm Eastern Standard Time. 

And now, on to the lucky winner...

56. Haylie
Congratulations! I would like to thank everyone who joined in the discussion and shared this via Facebook and Twitter. I would also like to thank VISA for sponsoring this totally awesome giveaway!

Disclosure: I have received a gift card as a thank you for sharing the results from the survey. All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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  1. I love love love shopping online! Clothes and shoes are a bit tough tho cuz sizing is never the same from store to store.

    But I got the kids' lunch bags, labels, containers and ice packs online :)

  2. I am a big fan of shopping online. I actually did all of Little Boo's back to school clothes shopping online one afternoon while I was on vacation. I came home to the big box of his new fall wardrobe waiting for me :) I do most of my Christmas shopping online as well.

    There's not much I don't buy online, as I'm not a big fan of crowds, and finding the time to drive around, park, browse, walk from store to store - it isn't always easy.

  3. I am still leary using my credit card online due to hackers which I experieced first hand. Survey seems pretty accurate except for males shopping for back to school items? Well isn't that a new day!

    calvert0 at telus dot net

  4. I usually do not shop on-line, because I had some issues with products. It is so much different how shirt, pant or shoes looks online on the picture and when I touch it real and put it on. Do not mind to buy on-line school supply, like pens, pencils, binders etc.

    I see that in What is at the top of Back to School shopping lists? question 48% for Clothing is related to growing kids, they always need something bigger and clothes they like and want to wear.

  5. I shop for clothes and shoes for the kids online, but not school supplies. I like to see them in person. :)

  6. I was surprised to learn that "73% of purchases online will be from Canadian retailers". I thought the percentage would be much lower!
    I love to shop on-line especially when I can get free shipping!


  7. I do shop online as much as I can,.but find it hard to find alot of canadian retailers with clothes I (or should I say my picky son) like! And shopping at US sites will cost you a arm and a leg for shipping! I usually try to save up any gift cards or amazon money I have and put it towards back to school or christmas shopping,clothes usually.

    ksceviour at hotmail dot com

  8. I love to shop online! It's so much more convenient when you have lot sof young kids! IT gives you the opportunity to comparison shop and because you aren't browsing down aisles I find I buy what I'm looking for anything else. A great to stick to my budget! I wish there were more Canadian friendly online stores.
    I don't shop for anything in particular just what our current needs are I think.

    tabitha dot pye at gmail dot com

  9. Clothes shopping online is a definite fave of mine :)

  10. i don't tend to do well buying clothes online, but i've done well with shoes and household stuff - nothing surprised me too much as far as survey results go - happy to see Canadian businesses getting lots of online business!
    penguinjo99 at gmail dot com

  11. I don't shop online. I have this thing about wanting to see the product in my hand before buying it. Returning things bought online is too scary for me.

  12. I love shopping online! The deals are often unbeatable and i don't have to fight the crowds. I will buy pretty much anything online but I am very careful about which sites I order from.

    My quiz results were spot on. The only answer i missed was the men being more likely to shop online. That shocked me!


  13. I usually shop online for clothes. I don't see myself shopping for pencils lol.
    Thanks for the giveaway :)
    jokparent at hot mail dot com

  14. i found it interesting , especially that easterners spend soo much more that westerners, i wonder why that is ?? i occasionally shop online for small items like books or videos i cant get locally and for small appliances that are on a good price
    staceyx at telus dot net

  15. I am not a huge fan of shopping online, I find the shipping costs is to high..

  16. I'm not too surprised about the survey results, only that east and west spend a different amount on back to school, I thought it would be about the same ever where. I usually shop for clothes and shoes online for my daughter because she doesn't need to try things on. I prefer online shops that accept debit cards, and stores with no shipping charges. thanks!
    amym_brown @

  17. The survey was interesting. Finding out when people shop for school stuff.

    We shop online from clothes to books and toys.

    Sometimes it just seems easy to do from home. So i guess that is what makes it nice to do sometimes.

    silverneon2000 at yahoo dot com

  18. For certain things I like shopping online. But usually I prefer checking out stores and products in person. Plus, shopping in stores means I get to escape from my house (and kids LOL)

  19. The survey results make sense. I find I'm shopping online more and more now. My son will need a new snowsuit this year and I plan to buy that online. The only thing I won't buy are shoes or boots...too nervous about them not fitting. I keep my eye out for good deals online... it definitely saves money and time.
    jentam777 at gmail dot com

  20. Very interesting survey. Thanks for sharing it. I shop online a little more now. I mostly love buying things that I cannot find in my little mud baths, salts, candles, things like that. I love to take advantage of free shipping buys so I may over-stretch myself for that. Have an awesome weekend, everyone.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

  21. i try not to shop online. it's easier to get into unnecessary debt!

  22. I think the results of the survey are fairly accurate. I often shop online for a ton of things, and ebay is great to buy back to school "lots" of school supplies. I love shopping online!
    rebthecatsitter at

  23. I think the results are pretty accurate - I am pretty much in there. I do do SOME shopping online - books, DVDS, ebay. I am hesitant to explore too much though for safety of my personal info!
    sbabij2 at shaw dot ca

  24. I occasionally shop online but for back to school shopping I have done it all in stores. I`m on a budget so I really shopped around to get the best deals this year and am pretty proud of myself.

  25. No I have never shopped online. Perhaps in time I will - but right now I shop the old fashioned way - at the store. Occasionally I order from a book like Avon.

    ontariohappychick at gmail dot com

  26. I do like shopping online but not for clothes...although I always measure and follow the sizing guide there are always problems and then I have to deal with returns...not so fun! books, movies, concert, travel....all great to order online and I love for the survey I am not surprised by the results but I am planning to spend less than my provincial

  27. i love shopping online for makeup and clothes.. but i tend to spend more than i should when i shop online since i use a credit card and i can't try things on so i get variety lol!

    holliister at gmail dot com

  28. i think i am one of the very few who DON'T shop online. I'm afraid if i get started i will get addicted. I also am really afraid of the whole credit card thing online, even though i know it's QUITE safe..
    I'd just rather hit the mall with my girls and have some girlie bonding time.

  29. I don't really shop online. The only thing that we've purchased online recently are piano books from amazon. I like to get out and shop in person (and it gives me a chance to get out of the house)
    terkim at gmail dot com

  30. I love shopping online especially for books at indigo and amazon. I also enjoy shopping in store. I'm good both ways. Shopping is shopping :)

  31. interesting results on the survey;

    I do shop online but mostly for knick knacks and not much clothing as the sizes are different from each brand.


  32. I prefer shopping in stores. I like to see what I am buying before I purchase it.

    adriana.fitzgerald at hotmail dot com

  33. Interesting results for the survey and I was surprised that more men shop online for back to school than women do. I do shop online for tons of things with video games and books topping the list. I do not tend to buy clothing online because I like to be able to see it and try it on before buying.


  34. I shop online a fair bit buying electronics and pretty much everything but shoes. Love online shopping and would do it more if debit was easier to use online.

  35. My husband and son order items on-line often. Shipping costs/Site locations are big considerations. My daughters and I prefer to shop in the stores. Back to school shopping is a day or two out with lunch, treats, etc. I do like to "window shop" on-line to see what's available, find deals and check store sizing.

  36. We do some shopping online. I watch sites with deals, and now that I know about I'll be there too! Most often for us though I use online to do my research, checking out which stores carry the products I need, reviews on their quality and ultimately since I love to be frugal (read: I think even my blood runs cheap :) ) I look to see who's got the best deals. There is no specific product I shop for - just pre shopping in general

  37. I do some shopping online. It's easier than trekking with all the kids to the store! I watch closely for sales.

    kristen_yeh at yahoo dot com

  38. I have shopped online but only when there are sales. If there is no shipping charge, I am more likely to shop there. I also try to buy clothes off season for greater sales. For instance, right now I am buying my son's Summer clothes for next year because everything is highly discounted right now.

    andrews_cheryl at hotmail dot com

  39. I usually shop online for myself. It is the only time I get to get myself something

  40. I found I actually have done less online shopping this year then in the past. Most the retailers I wanted to shop with were out of stock on the sizes that my soon-to-be JK'r needs.

    When I'm in store I actually get touch and feel the clothing and get a better idea on the quality. It also makes it a bit easier to mix and match.

  41. Great post! I only shop online for the deals :)
    For example, my local sephoras have been sold out of the urban decay naked palette since it came out, but I bought it online with free shipping!

    girl23rocks at hotmail dot com

  42. I shop online on occasion. However, shopping in person is still ideal because I really like to see products firsthand before purchasing (although I don't enjoy the crowds!) Clothes and school supplies take up the bulk of the budget!

    erikakomori at gmail dot com

  43. I shop online a lot around christmas - sooo much easier. I tend to go to canadian retailers when I can :)

    ssummmer AT gmail DOT com

  44. Your survey seems pretty bang on. I started shopping on line more in the last few years. Especially for childrens products, as there is such a bigger variety online than in the stores!

  45. I am a big cross boarder shopper but also found great deals at Zeller's and the Bay this year! GOt some really cute jeans for the little guy at the bay!

  46. I love to shop at marshalls, carter or target when in the U.S. but here at home, love winners for the little guy.

  47. I love online shopping! This year's back to school online purchases included clothes for both kids and a backpack for DD.

  48. I don't shop online because I don't like to use my credit card online. I would shop online if I had a prepaid card. I would shop for kids clothes. I find it interesting that 73% of purchases online where from Canadian retailers.


  49. I shop for clothes and shoes for the kids online, but not school supplies. I like to see them in person. :)

  50. The results are pretty close to my answers. I love shopping online but the Canadian postal system is so unpredictable that I never know when to expect shipments so I'm hesitant sometimes.
    asmithonline at yahoo dot ca

  51. I love shopping online! It is so easy and usually shipping is fairly reasonable when you consider the cost of gas these days! I like the large variety of different products you can find online, although I sometimes buy things online just to save a trip to the store.

  52. Angela Quaite

    I shop online for gift items crafts supplies and Books, but all the back to school stuff was bought local in person.

  53. I was surprised by the amount if men online shopping for bts.

    Interesting that people found online cheaper.

    Hope i am in time!


  54. I love to shop online - my favorite thing to browse for is cloth diapers (my addiction!). But I also do research almost all purchases online even if I end up going to a store to buy the item


  55. The survey results were interesting, but right on in my opinion. Online shopping has jumped in the past few years, and I do 95% of my shopping online(obviously not groceries, but I would!)I buy books, toys, clothes, shoes, clothing accessories and I never pay full price. I also try to get free shipping, or cheap shipping and 75% of the time I try to stay in Canada, to support canadian companies, and avoid duty fees.

  56. I shop online for electronics and computer stuff - it is a great way to easily shop around to find the best price



  57. I LOVE shopping on line. It is almost a necessity with 4 kids. It lets me take more time to "look around"

  58. I love to shop online, but I find it hard to do for clothes. I also found it much easier when we lived in the US. Also, I have to say that I'm somewhat flabbergasted at how much people plan to spend for back to school. I buy things throughout the year, so in September, there's a few school supplies to buy, and maybe one new outfit, and that's it.

  59. I love to shop online for books! I have also purchased a few items for my son online.

    arctic_teacher AT yahoo DOT ca


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