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Back-to-school costs: Aussie parents to be hit with $4,793 expense

Aussie families are expected to spend $12.9 billion on back-to-school costs for 2024.

Aussie parents will need to brace themselves for a back-to-school budget blowout, as costs soar for 2024.

School supplies alone are expected to set families back a staggering $3.5 billion for the year ahead, new Finder analysis has found.

A fresh set of school supplies - including textbooks, stationery and a uniform - will cost parents $684 on average for primary school children and $1,132 for secondary students.

Composite image of Australian money and school kid and parent. Back to school costs.
Aussie parents are set to fork out thousands of dollars for the 2024 school year. (Source: Getty)

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When other costs - including tuition fees, camps, excursions, technology, sporting equipment and transport costs - are taken into account, this jumps to $2,547 for each primary school child and $4,793 for secondary students on average. In total, the national costs ring in at $12.9 billion.


Finder personal finance expert and mum of three Sarah Megginson said the back-to-school costs were staggering.

“The soaring cost of living is causing genuine stress for many Aussie families,” Megginson said. “For some, the cost of paying for school expenses right now will be too much to bear.

“It’s becoming tough for parents to provide their kids with all the essentials. From uniforms, to tech, to sports equipment, stationery – the checklist can seem never ending.”


Tuition fees will be the biggest expense, costing families anywhere between $158 for a public primary school to $12,860 for an independent secondary school, on average.

Of course, there are some private schools where this cost is even higher, with more than 10 private schools in the country charging more than $40,000 a year for Year 12 day students.

Transport to and from school can cost primary students $530, on average, and secondary students $632, while school camps can cost $323 and $458, respectively.

Tips to cut costs

Megginson recommended families reuse whatever they could from previous years and look for second-hand items where possible.

“Your kids don’t always need to start school with brand new supplies, and there are plenty of items like school bags, colouring pencils and scissors that can outlast the school year without needing to be replaced,” she said.

“When looking for a new school uniform, don’t forget to check if your child’s school has a second-hand uniform shop. Often the clothes are still in great condition and they’re much more affordable.

“For items that might easily be lost, such as lunch boxes and water bottles, opt for budget-friendly brands.”

Parents who are struggling with costs are being urged to talk to their school about payment plans and potentially any financial-hardship programs available.

“This could help you manage the costs over a period of months, instead of having to pay a lump sum upfront,” Megginson said.

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