Uniforms, bags, stationery, fees, lunches, excursions and computers — the costs of sending kids to school soon add up. Planning ahead can help you stay on top of costs.
Spend less on school uniforms and supplies
Uniforms and stationery can be big up-front costs. But there are ways to reduce how much you spend.
Spread the costs
Only buy uniform items that your child needs for the first term. Put off buying extra sets or warmer clothes until the season changes.
Find out when your child needs different books and stationery supplies. Don't buy all of the stationery items at once. Wait until your child needs them, which may be later in the year.
Most school uniform shops or parent associations sell second-hand uniforms at reduced prices.
For books and calculators, check second-hand bookshops, noticeboards or online marketplaces. Or ask parents with older kids if they have any used items.
At most schools, you don't need to upgrade your child's laptop or tablet every year. Look for second-hand or refurbished models. Find out if you can buy computers through the school at a discount.
Put your child's name on every uniform and stationery item. You can order cheap customised labels online or through a stationery supplier. Labeled items are more likely to be returned if they get lost.
Buy at sales
Stock up when you see sales and clearances. This could be after the school year starts. Find out if your school has any deals with local businesses to offer discounts to school families.
Avoid impulse buys
Make a list before you go shopping. Stick to your list and only buy what you need.
Look for value
Go for durable and quality items, if you can. Look for sales and discounts at stores known for good-value products and fair prices.
Set a limit
Use buying school items as a way to teach your kids about money. If your kids are older, agree on a budget and get them to do the shopping.
Budget for the school year
Do a budget before the year starts. Estimate any extra costs that might come up during the year. Things like excursions, camps, sporting events, music lessons and project supplies.
Do a budget for school costs to see how much you'll need for the year.
Get help with school costs
No Interest Loan
If you need help to cover education costs for your child, consider a No Interest Loan. You could get a loan of up to $2,000 for things like a laptop, school fees or uniforms. You don’t pay any fees or interest on the loan.
Ask Good Shepherd about No Interest Loans (NILs).
If you’re on a tight budget, the Saver Plus program can help you save for education costs. You set a savings goal and have your savings matched up to $500. Eligible costs include text books, sports uniforms and equipment, computers and tablets.
Ask the Brotherhood of St Laurence about Saver Plus.
Financial hardship support through your school
If you're experiencing financial hardship and struggling to meet school costs, speak to the school principal. Most schools have financial assistance programs for families.
Get help with transport costs
If your child catches public transport to school, apply for a student concession card. Some states offer subsidies to support school students to travel to and from school.
|Transport Canberra concessions
|New South Wales
|School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS)
|Remote Transit Subsidy
|School Transport Assistance Scheme (STAS)
|Travel concession and allowances
|Public Transport for school students
|Student travel subsidies
Get support from the government
Services Australia has payments and services to help with your child's education and health care. To find out more, see raising kids on the Services Australia website.
The Australian Government is offering free home internet for one year for 30,000 families with school aged students who don't have nbn. To find out more, see the School Student Broadband Initiative on the nbn website.
Each state government offers financial assistance to school students to help cover education costs.
Australian Capital Territory
New South Wales