How much does it cost to go “back-to-school”?

I know that Spring is traditionally the season of new beginnings but I think that autumn holds some of the same magic too. Starting in September, specifically on the 23rd this year, autumn is the ideal time to start a new project or try out something new. There’s a sense of optimism in the air, everything is covered in a warm autumnal glow and with the Christmas holidays only a couple of months away everyone is looking forward. Perhaps that’s the reason why so many courses begin in the autumn term rather than January? Whether you’ve started a new adventure at university, signed up for a leisure learning evening class or have just begun a new academic year at school, it’s an exciting time and one that I look forward to every year.back to school new term autumn blog project-3I’m not always starting a new course (although, I’ve been a student on-and-off for 22 years if you count school!) but I still get rather excited at this time of year. It’s the ‘back to school’ adverts that make me reminisce about the excitement of a new school term and I can’t help wanting to study something. I might be in the minority – I know a lot of people who would rather never write an essay again – but I guess that’s the writer in me coming out. I love the idea of getting stuck into a new subject, starting a project or learning something new and even though I’ve not signed up for any courses this year, I am planning to take a couple of workshops.back to school new term autumn blog project-2Just seeing school supplies landing on the shelves of high street stores in August reels me in, and I inevitably start buying more stationary than I have all year. Why would I ever need a protractor kit? Okay, I don’t. But I kind of want one. I must have really enjoyed school as a child because just the sight of a pencil case makes me want to start a history project on ‘The Tudors’. I bought notebooks, a set of pens, new scissors and a circle cutter (below, I don’t know why?!) when I nipped out to buy a birthday card last month. Oops. But what about the people who do need it? The students. What were they buying this academic year?back to school new term autumn blog project-4

I recently read a survey commissioned by a bingo comparison site that discussed how much families and students spent on back-to-school essentials this year. I was actually rather surprised by the results. The majority of households (69%) in the UK spent no more than £50 on school supplies, with most of these (51.9%) spending less than £10.  When you consider the books, uniform, stationary or equipment needed for school, I think that this low-spend indicates that there are more good ‘value’ ranges available on the high streetand in supermarkets so pens, folders and even school shirts are costing less than ever.budgeting money saving finance tips for university freshers students_-2At the opposite end of the scale, 12.77% of back-to-school shoppers said that they spent over £100 on school essentials. I suppose, when you include electronic purchases such as laptops or software, the costs can soon add up, especially for older teens and college students. Most schools, colleges and all universities would expect assignments to be word-processed and sometimes submitted electronically so, in these instances, a computer and printer would certainly be classed as back-to-school ‘essentials’.back to school new term autumn blog projectThankfully, I don’t need any costly back-to-school items for the workshops I’m planning to take, so buying just a couple of pens and pads for the new school year feels like I got a bargain! Today I am heading off to a crochet workshop with my sister and, fingers crossed, by the end of the day I’ll have an idea of how to start a crochet project of my own. I’m also hoping to study a couple of paper-crafting classes during the autumn term, and I’ve got the urge to study a new language, so watch this space!

Have you started a new course or project this autumn? Did you already spend out on back-to-school essentials yourself? Let me know what you’re getting up to this academic term – I’d love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment below or tweet me @Cassiefairy to chat more.


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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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