BENDIGO parents will have to find several hundred dollars to send their children back to school this year, with traditional cost-cutting approaches no longer working for many families.
Shopper Australia, which analyses consumer sentiment and habits, has estimated $2.37 billion was spent nationally in 2021 on back-to-school costs, only for children to spend much of the year learning in their pyjamas at home.
The figure included an average spend of $111 on school shoes per child, a further $180 on uniforms, $180 on stationery, $58 on school bags and $43 per child on lunch containers. About half of the cost of sending a child to school was spent on technology equipment.
Mums 4 Mums administrator Debra McMahon said many parents were holding off until the last minute to buy those items this time around, wary of remote schooling being reintroduced making some purchases unnecessary.
"If you have little children in primary school they will grow very quickly,'' she said.
"They may start the year with one shoe size and then need another part-way through the year. The last thing you want is to have them growing out of their shoes before they've been worn."
Shopper Australia also surveyed 1000 parents with school-aged children about their back-to-school shopping plans for 2022.
It found that 51 per cent of parents intended to buy some supplies at their local supermarket. But, the traditional method of scouring local retailers for bargains to supplement to school book packs was no longer an option, Ms McMahon said.
"I've had parents tell me that they were asked to pay $85 in the second week of December for this year's school supplies,'' she said.
"When they asked for the booklist so they could get it themselves they were told 'no the school wants to provide it'. And if you have four or five children it becomes very expensive, and parents will be be wary of buying uniforms and shoes if the kids are doing school at home in their pyjamas again."