Survey shows £300 bill for back-to-school basics

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School might be out for summer but there’s a lesson still to be learned about the importance of pre-term budgeting. It comes after a recent survey from Equifax (September, 2016) found the combined cost of parents getting their children ready for September is nearly £300*.

From new uniforms to stationery, sports gear to getting a new school bag, the research by credit information firm Equifax found parents rack up an average of £296.82, with technology, including tablets and mobile phones, making up a big proportion of the cost.

The latter accounts for almost half of the total spend – although there are some interesting regional, age and gender differences. If you live in London and have a daughter between the age of 8 and 11, for instance, the survey found you’d likely spend the most on technology.

Electronics aside, just having to cover the basics can be costly enough. Junior school essentials come in slightly higher than secondary (£160.25 compared to £154.72) and, again, if you’ve a girl in her last years at primary you can expect to pay even more – closer to £178.05.

Little wonder, then, that so many parents confess to suffering not just a financial strain during the school holidays, but an emotional one too. A separate Equifax survey showed one in five felt stressed during this time – with that figure rising as high as 32% in Scotland.

What can be done to ease the burden? According to the experts, it’s all about careful financial planning. Equifax’s Lisa Hardstaff explains: “It’s always a good idea to set aside savings over the year to take the sting out of the back-to-school expenses. Parents should also factor in additional costs, such as school trips, and make it part of their budgeting plan to ensure their kids get the most out of their year ahead.”

Don’t feel you have to do this bit alone – involving the whole family in your money management is a great way to share ideas and tips. Often kids will be more clued up than their parents when it comes to pinning down deals and discounts on popular shopping websites and social media channels.

Signing up for a Usdaw Prepaid Plus Cashback card could make things easier. Put simply, you’ll earn up to 6% cashback every time you use it at over 50 popular retailers, including some of the biggest names in the back-to-school sector. From shoes at Clarks to revision guides at Waterstones, a laptop from Argos to uniform essentials from ASDA, you’ll see money back without having to change your shopping habits. It can also be used as a nifty budgeting tool – by only spending what you’ve pre-loaded, there’s far less chance of going over your budget on unnecessary school items.


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