TORONTO - Classes have already resumed in some parts of Canada, and many parents have a sense of how much they've been shelling out for school supplies and clothing.

A new survey suggests parents were more likely to have set a back-to-school budget this year, and a majority were sticking to it.

The back-to-school spending poll released by RBC on Tuesday found that 34 per cent of parents who were surveyed set a budget this year, compared to 29 per cent last year.

About half of the parents with a budget said they were following it perfectly so far, while 42 per cent said they were doing well so far but feared they will end up overspending.

Eight per cent said they had already spent "a little more" than they budgeted.

About two-thirds of the more than 1,000 parents with school-aged children who were questioned in the Ipsos-Reid poll said they expected to spend the same as last year on shoes, electronics and activity fees.

About six in 10 said they expected to spend the same as last year on clothing and school supplies.

The estimated overall price tag was on average $500 per household for clothing, school supplies, electronics and shoes, the survey indicated.

An RBC official said that parents face sticker shock every year when they're getting ready for the school year.

"If you look at this time of year much like planning for a family holiday, you can begin saving in January for school expenses coming up after the summer," advised Maria Contreras, product manager for savings accounts.

"Adding that savings element into your budget can be a big help in managing those yearly costs."

Twenty-five per cent of those surveyed said that paying for all the items was the most difficult aspect of back-to-school shopping, while 21 per cent said the most difficult thing was finding items before they were sold out or unavailable.

Nineteen per cent said they "love everything to do with back-to-school shopping."

Contreras noted that shopping can be turned into an opportunity to teach younger children about saving money and learning how to budget. She suggested going through flyers with kids to add and subtract costs, and "perhaps take away some of the stress."

The data were collected Aug. 18-22 through online interviews in French and English with a sample of 1,010 parents of school-age children. It's estimated the margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points, 19 times out of 20.