Back to school expenses

Back to school expenses

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The Confederation of Consumers and Users of Spain (CECU) calculates the costs that families will have to face this year in order to return to school for the course 2015/2016: It will be between 300 and 700 euros per child for 60% of families, while 14% will spend even more: between 700 and 1,000 euros. Both books, school supplies, clothing and dining room expenses have increased in value compared to last year.

Going back to school or the start of the school year for children represents a challenge for parents and children in every way. A challenge in terms of the economic expenses they will have and a challenge in terms of children's learning. Before school starts, the only challenge parents have is what they will have to fork out to buy school supplies, textbooks, clothes and uniforms, and how much they will have to pay for transportation, school canteen, extra activities , etc.

Textbooks are still the most expensive item for most consumers. It is where the money outlay is greatest. As for the place where they are acquired, the report tells us that it is done almost equally in the school center than in an establishment. Most books are bought new, since more than 75% of families say that they cannot reuse books from previous years.

To the costs of the material must be added the cost of enrollment in schools. Although in public schools the cost is zero, in concerted education things change. It is common for there to be an initial annual contribution in addition to the first monthly installment. These fees, although they should not be mandatory, are assumed by the parents.

If you have to use the school cafeteria, you will have to pay between 90 and 100 euros per month in public centers and 130 in subsidized and private centers.

Almost a third of the total budget for going back to school is absorbed by the purchase of clothing and footwear. If schoolchildren need a uniform and can buy it in any store, it is advisable to compare prices to reduce the cost of going back to school. The average price of a complete uniform for subsidized schools is 149 euros and in private schools it is about 204 euros. Although in public schools, children do not wear the uniform, families will have to face a minimum expenditure on clothes and footwear for day to day, which ranges between 150 and 200 euros.

What's more, it is recommended to dispense with the marks, which can mean a saving of 30 percent. Regarding the uniform, the OCU denounces the lack of competition that exists in this market. Thirty percent of schools sell these garments directly and another 53 percent offer their sale to a single establishment, severely limiting parents' ability to choose and, therefore, possible savings for families.

Expenses such as the 'morning reception' -service that has an average cost of 32 euros per month in public schools, 38 in subsidized schools and 45 in private ones - or the 'extracurricular activities', whose average cost is 25 euros per month, although its start is usually delayed to October.

The proposal is that families save, control expenses and make only what is necessary. It is advisable to take into account the 4Rs (reduce, recycle, reuse and repair), as it can help avoid unnecessary expenses. It is important to be aware of the real needs and of the material that we have at home and that it can be reused, reducing consumption and repairing the material that can be used again. In this sense, parents can also contact the parents' association of their school, in case there is the possibility that exchange days or textbook donations are proposed.

Source consulted
Confederation of Consumers and Users (CECU).

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