Higher school supply prices stress parents, limiting this year’s “back to school” budget to a maximum of 500 lei

Miruna Macsim 07/09/2023 | 12:02

The start of the new school year means extra expenses for most parents. In the face of financial challenges due to inflation and the rising cost of living, nearly 60% of parents are trying to stick to a budget of no more than 500 lei for school supplies, according to the latest survey conducted on the bestjobs online recruitment platform. Additionally, over 70% of respondents are considering solutions to mitigate the impact of school expenses on their family budget.

 

Among those concerned about financial pressures, 72% stated that they are monitoring offers from stores for school products, 25% will use supplies left over from previous years, and 17% will opt for cheaper products. Furthermore, 10% are dipping into savings, 13% will borrow money to cover the price differences, and another 23% are contemplating requesting an advance on their salary to lessen the impact of these purchases on their family budget.

“The start of the school year represents an additional financial burden on the budgets of Romanians, especially considering that rising prices have significantly eroded purchasing power over the past year. Whether they have had salary increases or not this year, the back-to-school purchases, in the context of rising costs, are not going unnoticed in family financial plans. Some will be forced to borrow to meet the demands of new purchases, while some are hoping for help from employers in the form of an advance salary, small bonuses, or days off,” said Ana Vișian, Marketing Manager at bestjobs.

With the beginning of the school year, employees with children are counting on their employers to offer flexibility for shopping during this period and for what is required for school commuting throughout the year. This is why the job searches on bestjobs in recent months have highlighted a preference for remote or hybrid jobs, not only among the 18-24 age group but also among older candidates. In August alone, there were 35,000 searches for the keyword “remote,” and over 110,000 applications for jobs that promote remote work.

Despite the school year starting in just a few days, 38% of parents who participated in the bestjobs survey said they postponed this year’s school shopping, waiting to consult with teachers or professors to know exactly what is needed as a measure to spend more efficiently.

Compared to last year, only 15% of parents said they are allocating a larger budget, while others are trying to reduce costs or stay within a similar amount. However, 40% are afraid of exceeding their allocated budget, 62% are concerned about higher prices, and 16% are considering making compromises in the quality of products or children’s expectations to stick to their initial plan.

The main observation of those who have already started shopping is that prices have increased significantly compared to last year (62%). Additionally, 37% note that school requirements have diversified, and 25% find that they have more options available and can choose prices that fit their budget.

The budget prepared by parents for the start of the school year includes the purchase of notebooks and pens (selected by all respondents), a backpack (65%), pencil cases (55%), and maps and atlases (30%), or textbooks (30%). In addition to these purchases, parents are directing a significant portion of their budget towards buying new clothes for their children.

Four out of five parents said they prefer physical stores because they can more easily choose the products they need, while 20% shop online to avoid crowds.

The survey was conducted from August to September on a sample of 640 parents in Romania.

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