The new school year begins soon, and with that comes back-to-school shopping. And since many parents are feeling the crunch of the economic downturn, that means lots of them are talking to their kids about something they often haven’t before: money.

According to Capital One’s 12th annual back-to-school survey, almost three-quarters of parents have discussed “needs versus wants” with their children, and half of families report they’re sticking to a budget and creating a concrete list of necessary items for school.

That’s a sharp increase from previous years, when just a third of parents broached such subjects with their teens. And while the circumstances for doing so may be unpleasant, experts say those chats are good for kids. In fact, those who discuss money with their parents and who must make choices about material things tend to have fewer debt and money-related problems later on.

Shelley Solheim, director of Financial Education at Capital One, says that while the conversations may be tough to have, they’re “extremely important as many teens are looking to their parents for information on money management topics like budgeting and saving.”

[Time]