One in four parents rely on credit to get children back to school
More than a quarter of parents will rely on some form of credit to get their children ready to go back to school, new research has found.
Figures from the Money Advice Service reveal that 26% of mums and dads will pay for books, stationary, school uniforms and other items via credit. Some 16% will use their credit cards, 8% will rely on an overdraft, while 2% will take out a loan to cover the costs.
More than half of parents (62%) will be spending £200 or less on back to school items, with the average spend £180, while nearly one in ten (9%) expect to fork-out a whopping £900 or more.
When discussing previous spending, 15% of parents admitted they spent more than they could afford to get their children ready for the school year, while 17% said they worried about overspending again this year.
In order to cut costs, a third of parents (31%) will use second hand and handed-down items such as school uniform, while 22% use vouchers and offers to try and make the new school year as cheap as possible.
Jane Symonds, money expert at the Money Advice Service, said: "Most parents enjoy spending more time with their children during the summer holidays, but after the cost of days out and keeping the kids entertained, the annual back-to-school spend comes at the worst possible time for many.
"We all want the best for our kids, but parents need to be realistic about what they can and can't afford.
"Making use of special offers, vouchers and second hand items can all help keep the costs in check. By planning ahead, parents can ensure that they don't get carried away and also see areas where they may be able to cut back."
The Money advice Service has launched a back to school money planner to help you keep track of your spending. Visit moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/tools/back-to-school-planner for more information.
An overdraft is an agreement with your bank that authorises you to withdraw more funds from your account than you have deposited in it. Many banks charge for this privilege either as a fixed fee or charge interest on the money overdrawn at a special high rate. Some banks charge a fee and interest. And other banks offer a free overdraft but impose very high charges for exceeding the agreed limit of your overdraft.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.