With the Christmas and New Year festive period over, the first big event on the 2021 calendar for many families in planning the new school year.

From school shoes to stationery and lunch boxes to uniforms, sending the kids back to school is an expensive little venture.

Taking a closer look at the shopping behaviours and spending habits of Aussie families, BIG W has launched its annual Back to School Report and found many are feeling the pressure to manage their budgets.

According to the report, 83% of Aussie parents find back to school shopping stressful, with the biggest contributors to their stress being the cost (51%), having to go to multiple shops (38%), and shopping with their kids in tow (27%).

Whilst back to school costs are weighing on people’s minds, the BIG W Back to School Report revealed a 10% increase in projected back to school spending, compared to last year. Aussie parents are planning on spending an average of $592 on school supplies per child in 2021, which is an increase of $54.

Expected costs for back to school items include:

Sending the kids back to school can be expensive but their are ways to save money.

In addition, technology devices like laptops, headphones and tablets, have been a growing back to school expense for Australian families, particularly with parents and children having to adopt home learning during COVID-19.

Parents are now expected to spend an average of $284 on tech items per child, up 17% from last year and more than any other category.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the 2020 school year was a year like no other. The Back to School Report revealed that as restrictions have eased, parents and children are now looking to regain a sense of normality and positivity to kick off the new year.

In fact, almost three quarters of Aussie parents (73%) have said they are very much looking forward to the 2021 school year, while seven in ten (69%) think their children are excited and eager to enjoy the year ahead with their friends.

Vanessa Stoykov, educator and money expert has some sound advice for parents looking to save on their back to school budget.

“It’s great to see so many of us are looking forward to the next school year – in fact I think we appreciate school more than ever due to lockdowns this year. While the BIG W Back to School Report says parents will spend more on school, here are my tips to help parents save: be organised and have a clear path, plan your costs now, as it puts less pressure on you financially, and take advantage of online shopping, it saves you time and lets you compare prices.”

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