FINANCE: Managing school fees without bankruptcy or stress

FINANCE: Managing school fees without bankruptcy or stress

by Siobhán O’Neill White

On top of the stress of Covid-19, parents now have the pressure of hefty back to school costs to deal with. For years, politicians have promised parents that crested uniforms would be done away with but, as the new term approaches - and despite the financial strain on many families right now - parents are still being forced to fork out big money for bad quality, crested polyester uniforms. As well as expensive uniforms, parents have to buy books, PE kits, school recommended shoes and school fees. For secondary school, many children now use ipads, which can cost between €400-€900. As if parents have not been wrung out to dry enough by this stage, many schools ask for a voluntary contribution, which averages around €250 per family.So, as a parent, how can you manage all this without going bankrupt and causing yourself untold stress? First off, you do not have to go to the ‘recommended’ school supplier. We have shopped around and found a 100% polyester crested jumper from a school ‘recommended supplier’ at €40, whereas Schoolbox.ie has the same jumper (in better quality with a wool/poly mix) for €29. For crested tracksuits you can save more than €10 by shopping around. Bestwear shop in Drogheda are very competitively priced and have become so popular with parents that they now supply uniforms for schools in Dublin, Louth & Meath. To make the whole experience of school shopping easier and more cost effective, Schoolbox.ie have a box of school supplies, including crested uniform, schoolbag, shoes, stationery etc in one box for a competitive price. It cuts down on expense and is less stressful than shopping in lots of different places for school essentials. With social distancing rules, this is a safe way to shop now. We got one of these boxes for our daughter for secondary school last year and it was excellent – even her locker lock was included!

If you are worried about school costs, you can apply for the Back to school clothing and footwear allowance (BSCFA) from Welfare.ie and there are money saving tips on www.mams.ie too.

/ Features, Finance