New school year costly for UK parents

Chris PolechonskiSenior Research Executive Digital, Media and Technology
August 30, 2013, 4:10 PM GMT+0

More than fifth of parents will rely on credit cards to fund purchases

As the start of the new school year approaches, UK parents of school children aged 5 to 16 will spend an average of £180 per child in order to ensure their children are prepared for the start of term, according to new YouGov research on behalf of Nationwide Building Society. This figure includes:

  • £110 on new school clothes, such as uniform and sports kits;
  • £50 on new school shoes, including trainers and plimsolls;
  • £20 on school bags and other essential items, such as stationary, pencil cases, water bottles and lunch boxes

The research also reveals that older parents surveyed are likely to spend more on their children in preparation for the new term. Parents aged 55 plus spend an average of £212 per child.

Where to buy?

More and more parents are turning to the UK’s supermarkets to buy their child’s school uniform and other school clothes, with almost three-fifths (58%) saying they make these purchases there. Department stores such as Debenhams are also a popular choice for buying uniforms with 42% of parents. However, some parents appear to have little choice about where to buy uniform and other clothes from, with nearly a quarter (24%) indicating they will be visiting a shop that has been requested by their child’s school.

Turning to credit cards

With so many items needed, parents are naturally concerned with how they are going to finance these purchases. Nearly two out of every five parents (38%) are worried about how they will pay for everything.

As a result, more than a fifth of parents (22%) will rely on their credit card, with one in ten (10%) parents admitting they will turn to the grandparents for financial help. A further 15% of parents say they will need to dip into their savings to ensure children have everything they need for the start of term. Over three-quarters (76%) say that they will use money in their current account to fund items needed.

Graham Pilkington, Nationwide’s director for banking, comments: “Even when the kids are at school, parents have to spend money. With more and more items required to send kids back to school in September, the financial burden is becoming even greater. Parents understand this with nearly two in five admitting that they worry how they are going to pay for everything. Rather than make those tough decisions on what they can and cannot afford, a number of parents are turning to credit cards to fund these purchases.”

See the full survey results