Brisbane sisters Sakura and Saffron Davis. Picture: Peter Wallis
Brisbane sisters Sakura and Saffron Davis. Picture: Peter Wallis

Back to School items that will cost parents $522

Exclusive: Back to School shopping is set to create another financial headache for Australian families, who are expected to spend an average of $538 per child in 2020.

New data obtained by News Corp from YouGov's Annual Back to School Research Report, commissioned by Big W, has found the staggering cost of buying school supplies and uniforms has risen by $62 or 13 per cent on last year.

Queensland is the third highest state which is expected to spend $522 per child, up from $482.

Victorians are expected to spend the most with a bill of $608 per child, up from $503.

South Australians are the second highest spenders with a bill of $568 per child, up from $401.

NSW is expected to spend $513 on each student, up from $456.

West Australians are estimated to spend a more conservative $506 per child, up from $439.

On average, uniforms are expected to cost $156 per child, a rise of $24, school shoes will cost $97, up $9, and school bags will cost an extra $9 at $59 each.

Lunch boxes and water bottles will cost $40, up $1 but stationery has seen an $8 price drop down to an average of $79.

Another bill more parents were feeling the brunt of is technology, with an average cost of $242 per child for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs in schools where students are required to have their own tablets or laptops.

Elise Vogt’s children Sakura Davis, 11, and Saffron Davis, 9. Picture: Peter Wallis
Elise Vogt’s children Sakura Davis, 11, and Saffron Davis, 9. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

Parents also expect to spend an average of $84 per child on sporting gear.

When added on, they bring the total average 'back to school' spend up to a staggering $864 per child for 2020.

More than one in four parents with a child aged 13-17 years expect to spend more than $500 on tech devices this year.

The research, based on 1053 parents, found 54 per cent said affordability was more important to them, and 43 per cent were concerned about the quality of products.

One in four parents said being able to purchase supplies online and having them delivered without going to a store was also important.

Seventy-seven per cent of parents with children aged 5-17 said they budget for these expenses, but only one in four (27 per cent) said they have a very detailed budget in place.

Two thirds (65 per cent) of parents said they always overspend as their children request non-essential items when shopping.

However, mothers said they are better than dads at resisting "pester power", with 42 per cent saying they do not overspend, compared to just a quarter of dads.

Finance expert and author of Kill Bills!, Joel Gibson told News Corp costs are rising as lists are getting longer and devices used at school were more sophisticated.

"Our kids are wanting to also keep up with the Jones' and technology is a significant cost on top that can put it at around $1000, which is more than the average power bill," he said.

"There is also general inflation and wages are stagnant, making it harder for parents right after Christmas and the holidays."

Finance expert Joel Gibson. Picture: Tim Hunter.
Finance expert Joel Gibson. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Mr Gibson said there are simple ways to save money by planning ahead.

"Create expectations in advance with your kids so they know what they can get and what the rules are, and don't take them along to the shops," he said.

"Go online before hitting the shops and negotiate what items your child can have and stick to the list."

He also suggested parents shop around and not just accept a school's price list if possible.

"Convenience costs money and there are cheaper options," he said.

Mr Gibson also said parents should embrace the idea of 'Before Pay', instead of Buy Now pay later schemes like Afterpay.

"Get a jar, put $10 a week into it and don't touch it before January so it can help you get ahead when you need it for these costs, you'll have $520 right there," he said.

Eleni Vogt with her children Sakura Davis, 11, and Saffron Davis, 9. Picture: Peter Wallis
Eleni Vogt with her children Sakura Davis, 11, and Saffron Davis, 9. Picture: Peter Wallis


 

'I'M DILIGENT BUT I WANT THEM TO BE INDIVIDUALS'

Mother-of-two Eleni Vogt, from Hemmant, does her homework when doing back to school items for her daughters Sakura 11, and Saffron Davis, 9.

She told News Corp she gets uniforms handed down for her eldest daughter from a girlfriend whose daughter is a year ahead of her.

She buys second-hand dresses for her youngest at the school uniform shop for about $10-$15 which can be up to $50 normally.

"I'm diligent with my kids, we put everything in a tub and see what we can re-use, and if we can make savings there, we will," she said.

Ms Vogt said shoes were harder to buy, as they get "trashed" by term 2, no matter what brand you buy.

"My youngest likes to wear Mary Janes and they're about $20-$30 and my oldest likes black joggers and I usually buy a brand that lasts like Asics for around $80," she said.

Eleni Vogt’s children Sakura Davis, 11, and Saffron Davis, 9. Picture: Peter Wallis
Eleni Vogt’s children Sakura Davis, 11, and Saffron Davis, 9. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

She told News Corp she does a lot of online research before going to buy stationery and lunch boxes. She discusses which ones her daughters want before she shops alone for them.

"You can't buy cheap pencil cases, they like to have Smiggle, or other things that are fun, and I always get them a fresh water bottle and lunch box every year," she said.

"I usually go to Kmart, Big W or Typo. I've probably spent $160 for both of them for this."

While she doesn't put money away regularly for these items, she said she is very strict with her shopping list and tells her daughters they can only pick one item.

"I want them to be individuals and they can put a bit of their personality into their accessories they have in their pencil case," she said.

"It's not a big drama when we go to buy these items … they go to the toy section and I go pick everything up and then we get on with the rest of our day," she said.

 


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