How Much Will You Spend on Back to School Costs?

Back to school time can be very costly for parents. Take our quick poll and read some interesting results from a recent survey of parents on Back to School Costs:
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Many parents of school going children are already bracing themselves ahead of the back to school shopping season. The cost of school going children to parents is a significant financial burden and can put pressure on other areas of the family budget. The Irish League of Credit Unions has this year taken a look at just what the costs for both primary and secondary school children are with a survey of 1,000 parents.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • 81% of parents believe that covering ‘Back to School’ costs is a financial burden
  • Back to school costs negatively impact 29% of household bill payments, with 16% of parents saying they will have to sacrifice spending on food to cover these costs.
  • 12% of parents will consider using a moneylender in 2015 to cover back to school costs
  • On average, primary school parents are spending €166 on uniforms per child, secondary school parents spending €258 per child
  • 32% of parents find themselves in debt covering back to school costs, borrowing an average of €360
  • 47% of parents shop online for back to school items, with 51% stating they get a better deal online
  • Dunnes Stores considered best value for school clothing (23%) followed by Marks & Spencer (17%), Tesco (14%) and Penneys (11%)
  • 7 in 10 parents expected to make ‘voluntary contribution’ to school averaging €112 per child, fall from €119 in 2014
  • 42% of parents feel under pressure to buy branded school supplies, up from 39% in 2014, pressure more evident in secondary school parents
  • Only 15% of parents eligible for back-to-school allowance believe that it is sufficient to cover back to school costs

Tips for Managing Debt

Where debt is used, the cost of items, including school uniforms can DOUBLE when expensive interest charges are factored in. The best option is to limit debt and where possible, know how to keep costs low by becoming ‘debt smart’. For example:

  1. Work towards building a rainy day fund.
  2. Pay off debt as quickly as possible – and reduce interest charges.
  3. Pay on time and avoid late fees.
  4. Maintain a good personal credit record as this should ensure the access to the best loan offers.
  5. Plan ahead and shop smart – compare online and offline offers and know a deal when one comes along.

Tips to help with Back to School costs:

  • schoolbooks dreamstime_xs_11706531Shop around for the best value in back to school items like school books and uniforms.
  • Shop online to avail of better value offers
  • Check the larger retailers as they often have good value offers available.
  • Check what you have left over from last year and then make a list of everything you need to buy and stick to that list.
  • Most importantly avoid using moneylenders. 

You might also find 16 Money Saving Tips for Back to School useful

Credit Unions Campaign for Families

coffee-786813_640The Irish League of Credit Unions is today also launching a campaign to promote credit union loans, money management skills and personal finance literacy through a series of ‘free’ coffee mornings for mums, dads and families.

For families, July and August have two big financial events –back to school and college. The financial burden placed upon families at these times can be immense and credit unions around the country would like to work with their members to help them to manage what can be a challenging financial time. In addition to back to school and college, credit unions are also aware that members may also have other events or financial difficulties and are happy to speak to any member who visits on the day.

Credit Union members are invited to visit their local participating credit unions throughout July & August to have a cup of coffee and a chat to a member of staff who will be on hand to answer their loan or personal finance queries.


Coffee mornings begin at 10.30am and end at 3pm in each location

Week 1

  • Wednesday 8th July – Dundrum Credit Union
  • Thursday 9th July – Community Credit Union (Blanchardstown Centre)
  • Friday 10th July – Progressive Credit Union (Balbriggan, Dublin)

Week 2

  • Monday 13th July – Cavan Credit Union
  • Tuesday 14th July – Drogheda Credit Union
  • Wednesday 15th July – Athlone Credit Union
  • Friday 16th July – Naas Credit Union

Week 3

  • Monday 20th July – Letterkenny Credit Union (Donegal)
  • Tuesday 21st July – Derry Credit Union
  • Wednesday 22nd July – Omagh Credit Union

Week 4

  • Monday 27th July – Ballymena Credit Union (Antrim)
  • Tuesday 28th July – SAG Credit Union (Belfast)
  • Wednesday 29th July – Newry Credit Union (Down)

Week 5

  • Tuesday 4th August – Castlebar Credit Union (Mayo)
  • Wednesday 5th August – Sligo Credit Union
  • Thursday 6th August – Portlaoise Credit Union (Laois)

Week 6

  • Tuesday 11th August – Tralee Credit Union (Kerry)
  • Wednesday 12th August – Mitchelstown Credit Union (Cork)
  • Thursday 13th August – Bishopstown Credit Union (Cork)
  • Friday 14th August  – MPCC Credit Union (Limerick)

Week 7

  • Wednesday 19th August – Clonmel Credit Union (Tipperary)
  • Thursday 20th August – St Dominics Credit Union (Waterford)
  • Friday 21st – Wexford Credit Union

Week 8

  • Wednesday 26th August – St Columba’s Credit Union (Galway)
  • Thursday 27th August – St Francis Credit Union (Ennis, Clare)

Over to you now. What’s your view on the survey results? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls