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How to save on back to school costs

Student holding a backpack

By Claire Matthews

Now that Christmas and New Year rush is over, many Australian families are starting to think about getting ready for the new school year. 

Australian parents are expected to spend an average of $592 on school supplies per child this year, a 10% increase from last year.

Expected costs for back to school items include $180 for school uniforms, $111 for school shoes, $92 for stationery, $58 for school bags, $43 for lunch boxes and water bottles, and $108 for all other items. 

Technology devices are also a growing cost for parents, especially after online learning. During COVID-19 last year, 41% of families had to purchase additional items, including technology and desks or chairs. Parents are now expected to spend an average of $284 on tech items per child in 2021, up 17% from 2020.  

In addition, 83% of parents find school shopping stressful, due to expense, having to visit multiple stores, and the pressure of taking their kids with them. 

So, what is the solution? 

Financial expert Vanessa Stoykov gave some advice for families to help reduce back to school expenses. 

“Here are my tips to help parents save: be organised and have a clear path, plan your costs now, as it puts less pressure on you financially, and take advantage of online shopping, it saves you time and lets you compare prices.”

Financial expert Mitch Armitt said households could manage their budget by shopping around for cheaper items. 

“Whilst Australian parents are expecting to spend more this year on getting their kids back to school, we know that household budgets remain tight, which is why we’ve been working hard to bring families great value with quality items from just $1. It’s possible to get all your school essentials for less than $200 including stationery, lunchbox, water bottle, school bag and uniforms.”

Here are our top tips for families to get ready for school and save money:

  1. Check what supplies you already have
  2. Swap supplies with friends
  3. Shop at discount stores
  4. Compare prices 
  5. Focus on saving on significant expenses first, e.g. laptops 
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