Shock back-to-school costs revealed

Aussie parents are expecting to spend $2.5 billion as their kids head back to school next week. 

The new data reveals about 5 million Australians will spend an average of $512 each on back to school related merchandise before the school gates reopen.

Queensland students will be walking through their school gates for the first time in 2024 on Monday, with the NSW and Victorian students quickly following them on January 30.

The latest research by Australian Retailers Association (ARA), in partnership with Roy Morgan, found of the those parents surveyed, 44% said they would be spending more than last year.

Meanwhile, about 14% surveyed said they plan to spend more than $1,000, while 10% plan on spending less than $100 this year.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said retailers hoped the somewhat necessary spending on school supplies would build momentum for a profitable 2024.

“The Back to School period is where we see retail trade ramp back up, as many Australians return from their holidays and prepare their kids for the school year,” he said. 

"Typically, uniforms, stationery, books and shoes make up most of the spending, with tech, school bags, lunch boxes and water bottles also highly sought after.

“With high interest rates and tighter budgets, parents will be expecting better value than ever before.”

Most popular items parents are buying:

  • Stationary – 54%
  • School uniforms – 51%
  • Footwear – 50%
  • Books – 37%
  • Lunch boxes or water bottles – 26%

Federal Education minister Jason Clare said the new National School Reform Agreement the government uses to fund state schools will ensure the resources are readily available the help those children in need.

“One of the biggest education costs families face is school fees, and it’s a lot cheaper if you’re going to a state school than if you’re going to a private school,” Mr Clare told NCA NewsWire.