COVID Stressed Parents Spending Big on Back-to-School

Savvy’s survey of 1000 Australian parents investigates back-to-school spending and how they feel about COVID stresses in the new school year.
Published on January 25th, 2022
  Written by 
Adrian Edlington
Adrian Edlington is PR & Communications Manager at Savvy. With a keen interest in personal finance, car loans, the mortgage industry, cost of living pressures, electric vehicles and renewable technology, Adrian's research includes conducting primary data surveys and analysis of up-to-the-minute secondary Australian data sources. His work on behalf of Savvy has been featured on ABC.net.au The Conversation, the Sydney Morning Herald, AFR, News.com.au, The Age, Herald Sun, Adelaide Now, SBS On The Money, 7News, Car Expert, Which Car, Drive.com.au and more. In his spare time, Adrian enjoys mountain biking and business podcasts.
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   Commentary by 
Bill Tsouvalas

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Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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back to school Australia 2022

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A new survey of 1,000 Australian parents delved into the past two years of on-and-off at home learning, financial stresses, and how much they will be spending on essential educational items.

  • 59% of parents spending up to $500, while 25% spending $500-$1000 on back-to-school
  • Tech the biggest portion of the back-to-school bill for 2022
  • 60% of parents experiencing COVID fatigue
  • 23% say their financial situation is worse than same time last year
  • More parents than not want their children to return to the classroom
  • Parents spending an average of $1,000 on laptops alone
Australian parents back to school spending 2022

The survey, conducted by Savvy shows that technology purchases such as laptops, tablets, and accessories are topping the bill for back-to-school purchases in 2022.

60% of parents said they are feeling “COVID fatigue” or weariness associated with the ongoing pandemic, (43% answering “somewhat” and 17%, “significant”) The highest proportion was found in the ACT (82%) followed by the most locked-down state in the world, Victoria (68%).

Of the parents surveyed, 71% were sending their children to primary school and 29% to high school. 17% of parents overlapped, sending at least one child to each.

36% of parents said they were more confident than not to send their children back amid the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak. 30% of parents said that school should start as “normal” while a further 30% said that school should start on time, provided greater COVID-safety measures are in place.

When asked about preparedness for home study, should the need arise, 16% of parents stated they were “Well prepared”, 36% answered “prepared”. Only 23% responded with “neutral”.

Parents Experiencing “COVID Fatigue” associated with Pandemic

No Data Found

Tech Tops the Back-to-School Bill

59% of parents say they’ll be spending up to $500 on back-to-school items per child, followed by a quarter who will be spending between $500 and $1,000.

Laptops (28%) and tablets (25%) are the must-have items for school, in light of schools not providing them for children instead. Other items are headphones (41%), USB drives (31%), and computer accessories such as mice and keyboards (22%).

Parents reported a mean average spend of $1035 on laptops and $604 for tablets. Computer accessories were the next most expensive item (avg. spend of $230) and headphones ($71.)

39% of parents are sending one child to school; 41% are sending two. For the 5% who are sending four or more, their tech bill may be very costly indeed. 

Coupled to this, 29% of parents say their financial situation has worsened since last year, adding another stress to their finances.

Though tech is one part of the back-to-school equation, parents are spending up on school essentials such as uniforms (68% of parents), shoes (74%), stationery (65%), and backpacks (54%). 48% reported that they would be purchasing COVID-safety equipment such as masks and hand sanitiser.

Further expenses include after school sport (47%), after school care (28%), and clubs (19%). With school related expenses mounting, this could be a good time to talk to children about financial literacy

What items do you need to purchase this year for your child or children’s back-to-school needs in 2022? (multiple choice)

No Data Found

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director of Savvy;

“An investment in personal tech it is much more a necessity than it was ten or fifteen years ago. Having one laptop or tablet per child is still a quite costly upfront purchase, especially with financial stress on the rise in Australia. For households with more than one child, this can add up fast. However, owning the latest and greatest tech should not come at the expense of sacrificing educational needs in other areas. For those who lack the available funds on hand, a personal loan can provide a better alternative to putting it on the credit card.” 

For more information, contact Adrian Edlington – [email protected]

Savvy - 2022 Back to School Survey - 2 (n = 1000) 

Nationally representative survey of 1000 adult Australians, aged 18 and over. Conducted by Octopus Group, on behalf of Savvy.

Completion date: 11/02/2022

Age groups:18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+

Gender breakdown: male n=501, female n=499, non-binary /prefer not to say n=0

Representative of state and territory populations:

NSW n=194 (32.3%), Vic n=197 (25.1%), Qld n=172 (20.2%), SA n=159 (7.2%), WA n=142 (10.6%) NT n=19 (0.7%), Tas n=72 (2.2%), ACT n=45 (1.7%)

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