Compounded costs see kids miss out: RACQ Bank

As parents prepared their children to head back to school next week, new RACQ data revealed one in three children had gone without school items because they were too expensive for the family budget.

RACQ Bank spokesperson Lucinda Ross said research showed on average families spent more than $3,500 per child to cover school fees, iPads, books, uniforms and other items at the start of the year. 

“It’s concerning many Queensland parents are struggling to pay for back-to-school expenses,” Ms Ross said. 

“While more than half do set a budget for these school expenses, nearly 40 percent are adding to their credit card bill or signing up for a payment plan to get by.

“Using credit or payment plans can provide short-term relief from purchasing an item, but it does mean families are setting themselves up for future financial stress.”

With many retailers promoting back to school sales and discounts, Ms Ross encouraged families to shop around to find items within their budget. 

“Start saving early in the year for the following year’s back to school costs to ensure you’re prepared for any unplanned expenses that might arise,” she said. 

“Take advantage of those back to school sales but make sure you also reuse items or buy second-hand where possible. 

“If you can, purchase using cash or debit and set aside any money saved for next year.”