Costs for school supplies set to skyrocket in 2020

Laptop and school bag with notebooks and a pair of sneakers
Image: iStock

I’m not a parent, so the costs of school supplies don’t affect me personally.

However, after reading this article, I feel sympathy for those who have to prepare children for the upcoming school year.

According to the Herald Sun, YouGov’s Annual Back to School Report, figures suggest that the cost of school supplies have risen in every Australian state. Overall, the rises in costs have been steep.

Victoria has seen the biggest  prices increase. Parents are expected to pay A$608 on supplies; up from A$503 last year.

You read that right: A$608 PER CHILD. That’s a rise of A$105. A 20.9% spike!

Costs in other states are slightly lower, but are still all higher than last year.

In South Australia, costs have risen by A$167 (from A$401 to $568).

Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia have also seen rises in costs. However the costs haven’t been so steep.

Biggest expenses for parents/ caregivers

Most things that a child needs to start off the new year has gone up in price. New school uniforms, shoes and technology are some of the biggest expenses. Shoes and school bags have gone up more than 10% since last year.

Technology alone has cost many parents over A$200. However, one mother who took part in the study said that her child’s school provided the technology needed.

It’s worth noting that the article didn’t say anything about school fees.

Tips for saving

Parents and financial experts offered tips on how to cut costs of school expenses. These include:

  • Plan and budget well in advance
  • Keep an eye out for discounts
  • Don’t allow your children to pester you into buying the latest/ most expensive items or gadgets. If possible, it’s best to shop without them
  • Set rules for children
  • Shop around

Why is it so expensive?

If the YouGov data is representative of what many families spend on children’s education, why? Why does it need to be so expensive?

I wonder if the need for computers, tablets, etc should have been scrapped when Julia Gillard’s ‘Education Revolution’ fell through in 2013.

That’s the problem with the Australian Labor Party. They throw money around on certain causes (schools, National Disability Insurance Scheme, etc) only for the schemes to collapse.

Then, the Liberal National Party (for those not in Australia, they are the centre – right party), has a habit of cutting out money that Labor have put into social programs to the extreme. And this is the result.

And why are schools charging so much for uniforms? I thought the whole point of a uniform was to create equality among students. I thought the whole point was so students weren’t judged on their clothes and their socio – economic status. Now, how many families will struggle to afford uniforms?


Will we get to the point where education will be too expensive for some families? Will secondary education become a luxury? That’ll create a massive underclass. I think it’s despicable. Education is a right and should NEVER be treated as a privilege for the wealthy. All children deserve a decent education.


Are you concerned about costs of school supplies this year? What tips have you adopted to limit these?