Credit to Author: Susan Lazaruk| Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2019 13:00:11 +0000
Parents are concerned about what back-to-school expenses will do to their household budgets, especially those with children in daycare and pre-school and those with grown children in post-secondary education, according to a new poll released today.
Almost seven out of 10 parents on average say shopping for school-related items and paying education-related fees will hurt their family finances, according to an online survey of 600 B.C. families conducted by Leger for Coast Capital Savings.
And between 40 and 60 per cent of parents worry they can’t afford to buy their children what they need for school, the survey found. Between 50 and 63 per cent “feel stressed” when they think about school costs.
Those who worry the most are those with kids in daycare, with almost two-thirds feeling stressed about specific costs, including fees, and worrying they won’t be able to provide all that their children need.
“Parents with household incomes of less than $80,000 per year are significantly more likely to believe back-to-school-associated costs will have an impact on their family’s finances,” according to the survey.
The group of parents most likely to fret over the impact on their finances are those who have their kids in full- or part-time daycare or preschool (74 per cent), and those with grown children in post-secondary (84 per cent).
More than half of parents with kids in kindergarten to Grade 6 worry about finances around school time and almost two-thirds of parents in Grades 7 to 12 do.
Thy Huynh of Vancouver has three children, in Grades 5, 7 and 9, and says she sets a budget of $500 for school supplies.
“I try to limit it, but because I have three children, it’s not easy,” she said. “If they don’t ask me for a laptop, I’m okay.”
A majority of survey respondents with children in all four age categories said they anticipated buying clothing, shoes and backpacks, and paying school fees.
For parents with children in K-12, the biggest expenses were for extracurricular activities and school supplies. For those in post-secondary, the big expenses were textbooks and school supplies.
A majority of parents, 82 per cent of respondents, said they comparison shop to help keep the costs down.
Bianca Schiavone, a Port Coquitlam single mother of three, said finding money for back-to-school expenses for her two oldest, Trey, going into Grade 12 and Dom, Grade 7, is especially challenging this year because she is on maternity leave with six-month-old Bella.
“It gets tight, especially since the older (the boys) get, because of what they wear. They will start to wear adult sizes and it gets more expensive. And there are a lot of activity fees.”
She said, “Sometimes I worry but I don’t let it get to me. I’ll go without myself so the kids will get what they need.”
“I know I should comparison shop, but I shop for convenience,” said Tanya Anderson of Vancouver, heading into Walmart with her two children, Asyna, 11, and Ariyan, 8. “But I shop here or at Superstore.”
Her children’s school requires $50 for each child for school supplies throughout the year, and for Anderson, the big expenses are clothing and daily lunches throughout the year.
She provides what she can at the start of the year, and “some things have to wait a month or two.”