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Back to school costs continue spiralling

Kit Klarenberg
Written By:
Kit Klarenberg

Summer holidays can be a costly affair for parents, but the end of the summer holidays doesn’t mean the end of spending. research reveals parents in the UK are facing increasing costs to get their children ready to go back to school after the summer holidays, with prices rising by 6.5 per cent since last year. On average, parents will spend an average of £164 kitting their children out for the new school term. This follows a summer in which parents have spent an average of £5,16 on childcare and activities for their children.

On average, the cost of a family summer holiday is £1,051, meaning parents will collectively spend £1,567 over the six week summer period. 42 per cent of parents say they spend more money during summer than Christmas.

However, costs keep coming when summer ends, with 10 per cent of parents spending over £300 kitting out their children for school, as 68 per cent of parents buy uniforms and general school equipment from new.

The findings also suggest parents are keen on kitting their kids out with the latest technology/gadgets, 27 per cent of parents cent intending to buy their child a mobile phone, tablet or laptop before sending them back to school.

The most popular items children carry around in their rucksack to school include:

  • Books – 75 per cent
  • Pencil case – 71 per cent
  • Lunch box – 60 per cent
  • Calculator – 43 per cent
  • Smartphone – 24 per cent
  • Headphones – 17 per cent
  • Mobile phone – 15 per cent
  • Tablet – 7 per cent
  • iPod – 6 per cent
  • MP3 player – 5 per cent

Spending doesn’t stop once ‘back-to-school’ items are purchased. Ongoing financial outgoings for children in school, such as lunch, bus fares and school clubs cost parents an average of £201 each term, equating to £603 for a full school year.

To cover rising costs, 29 per cent of parents will pay for school expenses via credit card, while 8 per don’t how they will cover the cost.

Nerys Lewis, head of credit cards at, said: “Summer seems an expensive time – not only are parents covering the costs of their child’s entertainment, but also having to cover the expense of kitting them out for school.

“Worryingly, parents are feeling the pressure of these financial burdens, and using whatever means possible to pay. It’s understandable many parents are turning to their credit cards to help fund these days out, or pay for their child’s uniform. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we want to make sure people are using the right type of credit card for their individual needs. There are some great deals available so it’s worth shopping around.”