Do your homework for new school term deals

The summer break gives many parents a welcome opportunity to spend some extra time with the children

Track down some bargains to save money at the start of the new school year
Track down some bargains to save money at the start of the new school year

But it also means spending a lot of extra money, something which spirals even more in the final few weeks, with the shopping list of new uniforms, stationery, books and excursions.

In fact, a new survey from the Money Advice Service (MAS) carried out among around 1,000 parents with children aged between four and 11, found that while the average back-to-school spend comes to £180, a staggering 9% of parents think they’ll have to find £900 or more.

This means one in five parents are planning to dip into their savings, 16% expect to use a credit card, 8% think they’ll rely on an overdraft and 2% will resort to taking out a loan.

It might sound overwhelming, but there are some ways of cutting the costs of the new term. One fifth of those surveyed used coupons, promotions and offers, while nearly one third relied on good, old-fashioned hand-me-downs.

Jane Symonds, a money expert at the MAS, says: “Most parents enjoy spending more time with their children during the summer holidays, but after the cost of days out and keeping the kids entertained, the annual back-toschool spend comes at the worst possible time for many. “We all want the best for our kids, but parents need to be realistic about what they can and can’t afford.

Making use of special offers, vouchers and second-hand items can all help keep costs in check.” The MAS, set up by Government to offer money tips, has a ’back to school’ planner tool on its website, /en/tools/back-to-school-planner.

There isn’t much respite for parents’ wallets as the kids grow older either, with new research from finding that three in five (61%) parents with offspring aged between 16 and 19 have offered incentives such as cash, clothes, holidays, driving lessons and even cars as a reward for achieving good grades.

The average size of the rewards was estimated at £610 across the UK, ranging from £982 for youngsters in London to £363 for those living in the East Midlands.


David Whetstone
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Graeme Whitfield
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