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.

Last updated on May 12th, 2022 at 10:52 am by Adrian Edlington

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
back to school Australia 2022
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

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%).

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

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]

About Savvy

Savvy is one of Australia’s largest online financial brokers, focusing on personal and commercial financial products. Founded in 2010, the firm has seen rapid growth, a testament to their provision of market leading rates and reaching customers with the latest in media and technology. Savvy is a proud supporter of Kids Under Cover, a charity assisting homeless and at-risk youth to strengthen their bonds to community and education. Savvy was named one of BRW’s fastest growing companies in 2015.