One in four parents rely on credit to get children back to school

21 August 2014

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.

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Bad timing

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 for more information.

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