Getting to grips with those ‘back to school’ costs!

When it comes to sending your child back to school this September, it’s likely that covering the cost may prove to be a financial burden.

In fact, according to a survey involving 1,000 people carried out by the Irish League of Credit Unions during May and June this year, the average cost of sending a child to primary school is around €1,200, with a secondary school teen averaging at around €1,500. These figures may, if readers have more than one school-going child in the family, serve to cause concern, especially for those who’ve either lost their jobs or experienced a serious decrease in earnings due to the impacts of Covid.

Therefore, if you’re a parent who’s wondering how on earth you’re going to navigate this extra financial burden, then please read on. Perhaps our five tips bellow may prove to be of some help to you.

  1. Please try and stay away from illegal moneylenders. We do understand how some people may feel inclined to do this, as borrowing from legitimate sources was somewhat curtailed during the pandemic, but the fact is that going down the so-called ‘loan shark’ route may prove to be a poor move.
  2. If you haven’t already considered them, why not pay a visit to your local Credit Union today. These community-focused organisations can offer members a flexible loan that doesn’t involve any alleged unsavoury ‘scare’ tactics.

In fact, some credit unions are even offering promotional rates and you can either give your local branch a call or go online today to find out more information.

However, as you need to be a member in order to be considered for a loan, it’d be a good idea to look at your family’s budget and see how much savings you can comfortably set aside each week and perhaps open up that account today. It may be a bit late for this year’s academic year, but there’s nothing stopping you making a start on next year’s expenses – or indeed (dare I mention the ‘C’ word in August) you could even start making plans to help pay Santa and his little helpers!

  1. Sit down this evening and prioritise your child’s ‘back to school’ list. Going by the order of their importance, work your way through it. As you do this, bear in mind that there are plenty of wonderful, small, family-run businesses operating right across this county catering for parents with kids either starting or returning to school.

To that end, take your list and contact that local uniform, schoolbook, school bag, and/or arts and crafts supplier now to see what discounts or promotions they’re running. You never know – there could be a ‘spread-the-cost’ scheme or a ‘bulk-buy’ bargain promotion being offered by the shop down the road.

  1. While experts say that a homemade lunch is always best for your child, and I agree, the fact is that parents don’t always have the time to prepare such nutritious offerings. That said, even though I’ve got no school-going kids, I have noticed how many of Roscommon’s family-run grocery stores/small supermarkets are supplying good quality, budget-friendly, wholesome, prepared and packed lunch options, including drinks, guaranteed to suit even the fussiest of your little darlings.
  2. Parents may qualify for the Back to School and Footwear Allowance grant. To see if you fit the criteria, and to get information on rates of payment, or guidelines etc., log on to today. According to the site, the closing date to apply is the 30th of September.