05 July 2023
Back To School Costs & Your Options
Altura Credit Union Supporting Local Families
Credit Union Back to School Tracker 2023 shows significant increase in parents feeling financial burden of children going back to school.
Altura Credit Union urges families struggling in the local community to come and talk to them, as findings from the Irish League of Credit Unions annual School Costs survey are released, tracking the costs and impacts of children returning to school.
With 72% of parents saying that covering the costs of back to school is a financial burden, and parents spending €1,152 per primary school child and €1,288 per secondary school child, the summer months can be an extremely challenging time of year.
Tom Brennan, Head of Business Development, in Altura Credit Union said the credit union is aware that covering the costs of back to school can be a big of the struggle for parents “We are aware that back to school costs can place huge financial pressure on families. We want to reassure parents in our communities that Altura Credit Union is here, for anyone who needs help, be it with budgeting for the back-to-school spend, or taking out a loan to help cover the costs. We understand that these costs can be financial burden, particularly at a time when other costs of living are so high.”
The 2023 survey shows that parents continue to feel a considerable financial burden educating their children. While we have seen a slight reduction in the amount being spent per child on back-to-school costs compared to 2022, general cost of living increases are impacting on households. So while the reduction in back-to-school costs are welcome, it is partly due to parents cutting back on extra-curricular activities and we still have parents getting into debt to cover back-to-school costs.
David Malone, CEO of the Irish League of Credit Unions said: “The average level of debt is €306 with 17% of parents having debts of over €500. We are also seeing the same number of parents getting into debt compared to last year (29% both years). Thankfully, the message on getting a credit union loan rather than using Payday or money lenders for help with back-to-school expenses seems to be getting through. For back-to-school supplies, 4% will seek a credit union loan and no respondent said they would go to a bank or moneylender. This is the type of community need which Credit Unions meet every day”.
Mr Malone said that more generally, cost of living increases are impacting all households and 40% of parents of school children have cancelled or reduced non-essential services / activities to cover rising costs. More concerning is that 18% of parents of school children are trying to earn additional income and the potential impact this might have on family life.
“13% of parents said they were seeking a loan to cover additional household costs with 2% saying they would go to a money lender to do so. Again, we would urge anyone needing help with household costs, particularly those who feel they have no option but to use a money lender to talk their local credit union”.
Echoing Mr Malone’s comments, Tom, from Altura Credit Union, urged parents who might be struggling with Back to School Fees to contact the credit union. “Credit cards can be an expensive form of finance if you are not paying back the full amount due on your card each month, while moneylenders can charge exorbitant interest rates that make repaying the loan beyond the financial reach of the borrower. Our credit union offers back to school loans at a fair rate. At such an expensive time of year for families, Altura Credit Union is here to help”.