'We spent around $800 in total.' 5 parents share exactly how much they spend on back-to-school supplies.

Thanks to our brand partner, BIG W

It feels as if the jingle bells have barely ceased jangling when the first whispers start to circulate. Words like ‘back’ and ‘school’ begin to permeate through the post-festive haze and suddenly you’re no longer wondering what day it is and if it’s acceptable for the leftover ham to be eaten for every meal (the answer is very clearly 'yes') and instead thinking about highlighters, binders and your child who manages to lose one pencil case per term. 

The back-to-school period has a particular talent for sneaking up on us, right when we’re exhausted from the year that’s just passed, incapable of thinking more than a couple of days ahead and fatigued at the very thought of a lunchbox. As a parent of three school-aged kids and a teacher myself, I know the struggle well. Back to school often means spending lots of money and even more time, two things we’d rather be spending on our holidays.

Thankfully, Big W has made saving those two precious commodities a little easier. Offering everything from pencil cases to school socks, Big W lets us stock up on the essentials while providing great value for money. The option to shop both in-store and online is also a game changer for busy parents who may struggle to get behind the handlebars of a trolley due to work (or, let's face it, post-Christmas shopping exhaustion).

Here’s how five other parents tackle back to school, what they spend and how they make it work for their families.

Lee, mum of two.

"With two kids in upper primary school (years 4 and 6), their back-to-school list has grown as they’ve gotten older, and we’d now spend around $150 on supplies. To cut costs, I buy pencils, stationery, drink bottles and lunchboxes throughout the year when it is half price.


"I also buy school shoes when they are on sale in the next three sizes that we will need. As a full-time working parent, I try to order everything online from the one place for delivery before school starts and without having to brave the shopping centre."

Image: Supplied.

Naomi, mum of three.

"With three kids at school in 2023, our back-to-school has become a process. We also have kids across three stages (kindy, year 4 and year 6) with each requiring different stationery and equipment so it is a lot. 


"We spend about $200 in total across all three kids and try to sit down with each of their lists and shop online. We often find it works out cheaper, in the long run, to buy a few extras of the essentials; pencils, pens, rubbers, glue sticks so that we have on hand when they inevitably get lost during the term."

Sarah, mum of two.

"This year is going to be different for us as my eldest starts high school. It’s my first-time shopping for a Year 7 kid and the list is a bit of an eye-opener. The biggest expense for us has been purchasing a laptop for my son to use at school. 

"We spoke to several teachers and other parents to narrow down our options for which device to buy then shopped around before purchasing. We spent around $800 in total for back-to-school including the laptop, laptop bag and accessories then the usual school supplies."

Listen to This Glorious Mess where Holly and Andrew attempt to find the happy medium between over preparation and under pre-operation when it comes to getting our kids ready for school. Story continues below.

Adam, dad of three.

"Back-to-school is always a busy time for us with three kids. Each of our kids also has very specific ideas of exactly what stationery they want for that year. This year I expect we will spend around $250. We always get the kids involved, at least in choosing their pencil cases, writing materials, and lunchbox; the stuff they care about. I always make sure I shop with each school list in hand so that I can manually check off each item as we go. It means we don’t forget everything and the night before school runs much smoother!"

Image: Supplied.


Cassandra, mum of two.

"For us, we extend back-to-school shopping to also mean things like new socks, undies, and shoes. I like to stock up at the beginning of the year as we seem to go through a lot of the first two! I often find that you can pick up great deals on bulk packs in January and I usually divide them into a ‘wear now’ and ‘save for later’ piles."

To save both time and money when the back-to-school shopping, head to Big W for the full range of essentials. 

Feature Image: Canva/Mamamia.

Family life. There’s mealtime, bathtime, storytime, lunch boxes, washing, drop-offs, pick-ups, school, homework and swimming practice. And that’s just Monday! But it’s the reward from these things which inspires us to leap out of bed each day. These moments are important. Not just to you. But to your entire family too. And BIG W is always here with everything you need to make it happen. To make a real difference. Because we know, in a growing family there’s no such thing as a small day. Every day’s a big day.

BIG W. Every day’s a big day.