To say that preparing your child for the new school year is expensive is an understatement.

In fact, according to a recent study by YouGov for Big W, the start of term is one of the most expensive times of the year. And the fact that this rolls around straight after Christmas doesn’t help!

The study reveals that parents fork out $543 per child on items ranging from school bags and shoes to stationery and lunch boxes.

CHOICE recently conducted a Back-to-School Basket Challenge of 17 school items (see list here) from Big W, Kmart, and Officeworks and named Officeworks as the cheapest destination for school supplies.

The Officeworks basket cost $26.87, which was more than 10 percent cheaper than the most expensive basket from Kmart. Big W came in second place.

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“Back to school supplies can quickly add up,” says CHOICE’s Managing Editor, Marg Rafferty.

“Uniforms, shoes, backpacks, lunchboxes, and stationery amount to quite a lot of money, especially if you have more than one child at school.”

“It’s important to shop around so that you can get the best deal possible.”

Whether you decide to do all your back-to-school shopping at one retailer or not, the key piece of advice from CHOICE is to shop around. And that’s exactly what we’ve done.


CHOICE Managing Editor, Margaret Raffery says, “One way parents can save is by doing a stocktake at home before they hit the shops – if there’s still life in the binders, pens or any other school supplies then don’t replace them.”

10 back-to-school buys for under $10