By: Charlotte Carter and Tess Nichol
As kids go back to school parents are grappling with the high costs of uniforms, stationery and other scholastic necessities.
Hawkes Bay Today yesterday revealed one family had set aside $1000 to cover the cost of sending their youngest son – a new entrant in 2018 – to school.
That included enough funds to cover the cost of buying a uniform, stationery, a Chromebook, a bike to get him to and from school, and other costs.
It comes as a new survey revealed back-to-school costs vary wildly around the country.
A recent survey found nearly a third of parents in Auckland spent up to $400 on back-to-school costs, while in Otago more than half spent less than $100.
Nearly half of those surveyed said the cost of new books, stationery and other odds and ends had a significant impact on the family budget.
Just under 1000 parents were surveyed by Buzz Channel on behalf of Warehouse Stationery and 29 per cent said stumping up for school basics was stressful.
Slightly more than a third of Kiwi parents spend between $100 and $200 on school supplies, and 16 per cent spend more than $300.
Parents in Auckland spent the most with 31 per cent spending between $200 and $400, and those in Otago spent the least, with 54 per cent spending less than $100.
The findings of the survey come a week after the Australian Scholarships Group study revealed the price tag of a private-school education has soared to $360,074 over a child’s school career – almost 10 times the cost of a state school.
The ASG survey found that the expected lifetime cost of a private school education for a child born this year, including uniforms, computers and travel as well as fees, had jumped by $14,000 since last year.
In contrast, the lifetime cost of putting a child through the state system has dropped by $135 to $38,227.
Warehouse Stationery chief executive Pejman Okhovat said equipping children to go back to school can be a stressful time for families, “particularly with the time and cost pressures associated with Christmas and school holidays”.
The stationery chain recently facilitated donations of more than $60,000 to The Salvation Army to help support low income families struggling with back to school costs.
Back to school tips
- If your child is new to school, visit the school grounds over the holidays to help them feel comfortable with their new surroundings
- Get your child to have their clothing and backpack ready the night before school to reduce stress in the morning
- If your children are anxious about the first day, make time to talk about their worries
- Pack a lunchbox that will give your child energy to last the day – including a mix of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, dairy products and protein
- Check if your school has a second-hand uniform shop, or put a post online to see if you can buy a less expensive second-hand uniform
- Netsafe has great advice for parents on buying and using devices for school
- If you have concerns about your children’s progress, make a time to chat with their teacher
- Health experts recommend 9-11 hours sleep for school-age children, and 8-10 hours per night for teens
- Remember, donations are voluntary payments that can be paid in full, in part or not at all
- Parents on a benefit or low incomes may be eligible for assistance from Work and Income for some school costs
– Source: Ministry of Education
Source: NZ Herald