Australian parents will be slugged with a 10 per cent increase on Back to School costs as retailers fight to fulfil their shopping lists.

The Back to School 2020 report, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Big W, found parents are planning to spend an average of $592 on school supplies per child, which is an increase of $54 on last year.

Parents are also now expected to spend an average of $284 on tech items per child, which is 17 per cent more than they did in 2019, and a greater outlay than in any other category.

When added up, tech devices and sporting gear bring the total expected average 'back to school' spend up to $970 per child for the 2021 school year, up 12 per cent on last year.

Other expected costs for back to school items include:

*School uniforms - $180

*School shoes - $111

*Stationery - $92

*School bags - $58

*Lunch boxes and water bottles - $43

*All other items including sporting gear - $108

Back to School costs are about to rise again.
Back to School costs are about to rise again.

Overall, 83 per cent of parents find back to school shopping stressful, with the biggest contributors being the cost (51 per cent), having to go to multiple shops (38 per cent), and shopping with their kids (27 per cent).

With financial pressures that came from the COVID-19 pandemic, value for money (70 per cent), affordability (53 per cent) and quality of products (53 per cent) are the most important factors.

Seven in ten parents with children aged 5-17 said they budget for 'back to school' expenses, but it's mainly a general budget with only one in five saying they have a very detailed budget in place.

To reduce costs, parents will be sourcing some items second hand (29 per cent) and gifting school supplies as part of their children's Christmas presents (16 per cent).

Australia's biggest retailers including Big W, Target, Officeworks and supermarkets including Coles and Woolworths have back to school items stocked.

Officeworks told News Corp it has "stocked up" on popular items, as the need for students to have their own set of supplies with less shared ones in classrooms grows.

"They anticipate further growth in the technology space with increases in laptops, tablets and headphones as schools move their learning to interactive and digital platforms," a spokesman said.

They said it would continue to offer parents its price promise of: 'If you find a lower price on an identical stocked item on an official school list, Officeworks will beat it by 20 per cent.'

The store also offers a School List Service online, where parents can upload a school list (or build one) online, compare and edit the automatically matched products with the best price, and then order via Click & Collect.

Money educator Vanessa Stoykov said parents must be organised before they shop. "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," she said.

Jessica and Trent Keavney with their three primary school children Hope, 9, Max, 8 and Ava, 11. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Jessica and Trent Keavney with their three primary school children Hope, 9, Max, 8 and Ava, 11. Picture: Nigel Hallett

 

'I'M QUITE SAVVY AT SHOPPING'

Jessica and Trent Keavney will spend between $800 to $1000 on back to school items for their three primary school children Ava, 11, Hope, 9, and Max, 8.

Mrs Keavney told News Corp they will try to find savings and reuse items that aren't broken or they haven't grown out of yet.

She said she does all their shopping online, which allows her kids to pick their stationery without leaving the house.

"The last thing I want to do is hunt for stationery at the shops after Christmas, last year I spent ages comparing prices online, and we just give our list to Officeworks and it's been the cheaper way to buy what they need," she said.

"I'm quite savvy in hunting down second hand uniforms at op shops and community pages, where I've got some for $3 a piece.

"Dragging three kids through a shopping centre isn't fun, especially after the Boxing Day sales."

Mrs Keavney also said she labels her kids' items just with their surname, so they can be passed down to her younger children.

"It's a little cost saving tip I have discovered along the way," she said.

 

Valentina Necic, 7, with her younger brother, Luka, 5, who is starting school in 2021. Picture: Keryn Stevens
Valentina Necic, 7, with her younger brother, Luka, 5, who is starting school in 2021. Picture: Keryn Stevens

 

'I LIKE TO SEE WHAT'S OUT THERE FIRST'

Mother-of-two Carly Necic just started shopping for her Back to School shopping list for her children Valentina, 7, and Luka, 5.

Mrs Necic, from Aldinga in South Australia, told News Corp she will spend $450 on her daughter as she needs a new Chromebook on top of a uniform, shoes, lunch bag and drink bottle.

She will spend a further $250 on her son, who also needs his uniform, bag, lunch box and drink bottle.

"Their school provides stationery but I need to get a new bags and bottles, we usually get the Nike bottle as that's what they want," she said.

"Even their school bag they may want a certain brand from a surf shop as they get older, but it's Valentina's birthday in January, so sometimes we make these items part of her birthday gifts."

She said she shops with her children, instead of going online.

"I like to see what's out there at the local shops and they come with me, they're pretty good and can choose what they want," she said.

Originally published as Back to School item now costing parents $284 per child



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