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Playground pressure sees parents spend nearly £350 to kit the kids out for school

1st September 2016 Print

Parents’ purses may have taken a hit over the recent school holidays, but there is now one more cost to plan for.

New research from American Express shows heading back to school will cost the average family with two children £332 to kit their children out for the new school year. The equivalent of six weeks’ worth of food shopping for a British family. 

While trying to balance the back-to-school books, parents will splash out on everything from stationery to uniforms and new tech, as nearly half (44%) want their little ones to be up to date with the latest term time trends, while just over a third (35%) say requests from the children drive up the bill.

School kit costs breakdown:

Items - Average Cost (based on two children per family)

Uniform & PE kit (including coat, shoes, trainers and other equipment) £244

Rucksack £21

Book bag £12

Lunchbox £10

Technology £22

Stationery (including calculator) £23

Total £332

Comment from American Express:

Jenny Cheung, Director at American Express said: “Preparing children for the new school year can be expensive for parents, as they combine purchasing the essentials with those nice to have gadgets. By paying for school items on a credit card that offers rewards or cashback, families can make their spending work hard for them, giving them something back from the school shopping bill.”

American Express tips for saving money ahead of the new term:

To help parents get their children set for September, while keeping a handle on the family budget, American Express has selected some top tips to save money and earn rewards:

Check what you already have -make a list of every school-related item you already have to avoid unnecessary spending. Also check with other parents and the school to work out what you actually need. You can always top up supplies a few weeks into term.

Set limits –if your children are after lots of new items, back-to-school shopping is a great opportunity to teach them the value of money. Plan the shop together, have a set budget for each child, let them find good deals and perhaps allow them one ‘luxury item’.

Defer non-essential purchases – if there’s an item on the shopping list that isn’t actually needed for the return to school, consider deferring the purchase to a birthday or to Christmas.

Use your points - check how many rewards points you have on your credit, charge or store card. You may have enough to get some back to school items for free simply by redeeming your points.

Buy simple and jazz it up – plain supplies are often much cheaper and your children can add their own personal touches with stickers and colourful embellishments. Not only will this save money, but will make a great summer holiday activity to get children excited about returning to school.

Buy in bulk – items such as stationery are always much cheaper when bought it large quantities. If you don’t think your kids will need 100 pencils, talk to your friends, pool your money together, bulk buy supplies, and then divide them equally.

Earn rewards and cashback on your spending – Whether its trainers or a tablet, make your money work harder for you by using a card that earns cashback or rewards which can be put towards some well-earned rewards for the whole family to enjoy as the summer fun draws to a close.