Back-to-school costs are becoming increasingly complex for millions of parents, but there are ways to minimise the financial hit.
Households need laptops, tablet computers, smartphones and ballooning book lists — and that’s all before the kids become teenagers.
Laura Higgins, senior executive leader with ASIC’s MoneySmart, said school costs could be one of a family’s biggest expenses, so planning ahead and budgeting were important.
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“See what you can get second-hand and look out for sales, or use what you already have at home,” she said.
“Get your kids involved — this is a good opportunity to teach them about budgeting, as well as needs and wants.”
ASIC’s savings tips include:
• Check school shops for serviceable second-hand uniforms.
• Hand down some uniform items to younger siblings.
• Stick to a list when shopping to avoid impulse buys.
• Shop at discount stores or supermarkets for cheap durable stationery supplies.
Officeworks national merchandise manager Jim Berndelis said parents should not feel obligated to buy supplies through their child’s school.
“Our data tells us that parents can save $24.54 on average per list if they do their own shop,” he said. “Spend time researching, as most retailers will price match.
“It never ceases to amaze us just how many parents still don’t realise that there is an opportunity to save by doing their own back to school supplies shop.
“We would disagree in saying the costs of back to school is increasing … the prices of a lot of our essential back-to-school products have remained similar year on year.”