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How much do Aussie families spend on back-to-school costs? We find out.

Back to school costs cause stress among primary school parents

Research conducted by Heritage Bank shows 60% of primary school parents admit to feeling stressed in the lead up to the 2013 school year due to the costs associated with back to school items.

Looking at the results this comes as no surprise, with the average primary school family spending around $600 in the weeks before the bell rings. And this is just on necessities such as shoes, books, uniforms and musical and sporting equipment.

Back to school costs cause stress for primary school parents

While most parents are keeping the cost of books under $200, some families are forking out over $500 just for one child’s books for the year. And for those of you hitting the shops for back to school items you know it doesn’t just stop at books. There’s the shoes, uniforms, sporting and musical equipment and other small costs such as lunch boxes and name tags.

Queensland parents can expect to feel the pinch the most, with the average parent spending the highest amount per child than any other state, followed closely behind by South Australia.

Generally, the highest costs come with the purchasing of school uniforms and shoes, with the majority of parents spending up to $200 on uniforms and $50 on shoes per child.

Most schools require a uniform of some sort which can be shorts and a t-shirt or something a little more formal such as a dress, long socks, trouser pants and a button up top.

Whatever the case, you are probably going to need five of these items or even more in the event of spills and messes during the day. You don’t want to have to wash your child’s school uniform every night but you also don’t want to spend a fortune every year, especially considering they will probably outgrow the items and require new ones every one or two years. So what can you do?

Jody Allen – successful family blogger, Editor and owner of the popular Stay at Home Mum blog, says buying school clothes will certainly add up and trying to save money on school uniforms is something you will be doing for the next 12 years. We caught up with Jody for her expert tips on saving money when it comes to school uniforms.

Read on below to see Jody's tips.

Jody's tips for saving money on school uniforms and weekend wear


Start by taking an inventory of the items in your closet and drawers and write a list of the things she/he actually needs.

Check for Sales

Stores like Kmart, Big W and Target all offer fairly affordable children’s clothing and most will have several sales throughout the year. You should be able to save anywhere from 20 percent to 60 percent on the regular retail price by shopping at the right time. What this means is shopping throughout the year and taking advantage of these sales. Furthermore, at the end of each season there may be a rack of “clearance” items that can be used for next year. Just make sure you buy in the next size up.

Consider your Other Children

When your kids hit their teens they will probably rather wear nothing than be forced to wear their older sibling’s hand-me-downs. However, younger children could care less. If you have children of different genders, consider choosing items that could be unisex so that you can pass these items down.

Shop Second Hand

Places like Lifeline and the Salvation Army can provide inexpensive t-shirts, jeans, jackets and even shoes. While a brand new shirt may cost around $15, you can expect to only pay $5 for this same shirt at a second hand store. Many of the clothing will be in good to excellent condition and only require a simple wash. You may even luck out and find school uniforms in the right sizes.

Check at School

When hunting down school uniforms, ask at school if there is a way to get in contact with other parents selling uniforms that are too small for their children. Or, you may be able to get a hold of these items by checking Facebook Buy, Sell and Swap pages in your area.

Consider a Clothing Swap

Another great way to get some new clothes is to host a clothing swap with some friends. You can swap last year’s clothes for a new wardrobe without paying a cent. This works best when you have friends with children that are different ages. Or, if your children are a little older, you can let them do the clothing swap. This is especially clever with girls who will love the idea of ‘shopping’ in one another’s wardrobe.

These are just some of the ways you can save when shopping for back to school clothes. Your children will probably want to have a say in what you buy for them, especially if they are a little older. Let them choose one or two new items to add to the wardrobe and focus on choosing sale items, basics and second hand goodies for the rest.

* Based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. WARNING: This comparison rate is true only for the examples given and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate.