Oxfam survey reveals the true costs of school uniform, shoes, bags and books for kids

by My Kent Family reporter

Kitting out kids during their school years costs parents a staggering £36,400, according to a new study.

An Oxfam poll of 2,000 parents of four to 16-year-olds revealed that during the 12 years of school, they fork out thousands of pounds per child on clothes, shoes, bags, toys, haircuts, and books.

The biggest yearly expenditure is entertainment, with mums and dads dishing out a cool £944.64 on outings, trips to the pool, computer games, and socialising with friends.

Clothing sets parents back over £545.28 annually – which equates to £6,543.36 over the full 12 years.

The cost over 12 years is more than £36,000
The cost over 12 years is more than £36,000

While another £333.60 a year is spent on books and magazines, and a further £473.64 on toys.

The total spend across one year, for just one child, is an incredible £3,033.35.

Andrew Horton, Oxfam’s Trading Director, said: “Wow! This survey shows the absolute fortune parents spend on providing kids with the stuff they need and ask for.

“This is such a huge expense, and explains why many household budgets are stretched. Parents can save lots of money by buying their kids clothes, shoes, books and toys from Oxfam shops and our online shop. Our stock is great value and in good condition.

A change of school always brings an added expense for hard-pushed parents
A change of school always brings an added expense for hard-pushed parents

“Even better, all the money raised from our sales helps put food in the stomachs, a roof over the heads, and books in the hands of children suffering because of poverty across the world.”

The study found parents spend £126.74 a year on shoes, that’s £1,520.88 by the time the child reaches 16.

School uniform costs over one hundred pounds a year, as do special outfits for school plays, non-uniform days and dress up days.

Even haircuts cost another £75.92 yearly, while parents fork out £50.05 on jewellery over a 12-month period and another £52.78 on school bags.

How parents look to make savings
How parents look to make savings

School trips and days out, fetes and other events complete the annual spend, adding another £214.55 to the bill.

But costs could be reduced if children were to stop breaking, damaging or losing their belongings – as eight in 10 parents end up replacing many items.

Most commonly replaced goods include clothing (56%), shoes (48%) and school uniform (43%).

And parents estimate they spend £35.62 more a month than they need to on replacing things their child has either grown out of, or lost, broken or damaged – that’s an astonishing £427.44 over one year and more than £5,000 over the school period.

School uniform costs continue to rise every year
School uniform costs continue to rise every year

Understandably, seven in 10 parents admit to feeling annoyed when their child breaks or loses an item, and 70% often worry they won’t be able to afford to kit out their kids.

However, seven in 10 mums and dads are more than happy to give their children hand-me-downs or buy something second-hand to save money.

Almost six in 10 will replace clothing with garments bought from a charity shop, 40 per cent will often shop there for coats and jackets, while a fifth are happy to buy second-hand shoes.

While 73% of those polled say they’re more likely to buy cheaper versions of things such as books, toys, clothes and shoes so it doesn’t matter as much when their children grow out of them or lose them.

Many parents face an uphill battle financially year after year
Many parents face an uphill battle financially year after year

Andrew Horton for Oxfam continues “We all know kids gobble up cash – as they race out of clothes, their tastes in toys and books evolve, and they lose and break stuff.

“No wonder the majority of parents feel stressed by the expenditure.

“Buying from Oxfam can really help stretch the money further and supports impoverished families across the world at the same time. All parents, wherever they live, want to make their kids happy.”

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