Parents feel the squeeze as back-to-school costs mount up

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Parents are typically spending nearly £175 getting their child ready for the new school year, research suggests.

Around £174.31 is being forked out per child on items such as jumpers, blazers, ties, shoes and sports kit, according to the annual survey from Nationwide Current Accounts.

This is a £12 fall compared with the average amount parents said they were spending last year, suggesting some are feeling a squeeze on their wallets.

Grandparents are also being asked to chip in, with 11% of parents planning to ask the older generation for financial help.

More than a third (37%) dip into their savings to fund back-to-school costs, while a quarter (25%) turn to the credit card.

School uniform and shoes make up the bulk of back-to-school spending, accounting for a little more than a third (34%) of the total.

More than three-quarters (79%) of parents surveyed mainly make their purchases during the school summer holidays, but one in seven (14%) wait until just before the end of the previous school year, when there may be bargains to be snapped up.

The research found shops designated by the school tend to be where UK parents buy or need to buy jumpers and sweatshirts, ties, sports kits and blazers.

But the supermarkets are an attractive option for parents buying skirts and trousers, shirts and coats and jackets.

Many parents also said they would head to a department store to buy shoes.

Larry Banda, Nationwide's director of financial planning, said: "Families are often under enormous financial pressure throughout the year, and particularly so when the kids are going back to school. As much as your children will get too big for their shoes, you don't want your bills to outgrow your wallet.

"There are a number of ways parents can cover the costs by planning ahead as much as possible. These include snapping up bargains when we see them, or building a pot of savings.

"And with the survey showing a quarter of parents use credit cards, we would always advocate making sure that you can afford the payments and to research the best deals for you." 

Some 2,000 parents with children aged between four and 16 years old who will be attending school this autumn were surveyed.

Here is how the back-to-school costs per child add up, according to Nationwide Current Accounts:

:: School uniform, £32.73

:: School shoes, £27.25

:: Jackets and coats, £22.52

:: Sports shoes, £19.96

:: Sports kit, £16.68

:: Sports equipment, £8.70

:: School bags, £13.53

:: Stationery, £9.94

:: Books, £7.92

:: Lunch boxes, £7.11

:: Technology, £7.97

 

And here is how back-to-school costs per child vary across the country (a figure was not given for Northern Ireland due to a small sample size):

:: East Anglia, £158.14

:: East Midlands, £165.87

:: London, £184.89

:: North East, £171.37

:: North West, £180.13

:: Scotland, £180.05

:: South East, £170.06

:: South West, £169.39

:: Wales, £166.47

:: West Midlands, £158.64

:: Yorkshire and the Humber, £157.55