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Back to School Debt

Back to School Debt

A third of parents in Northern Ireland have stated that they are getting into debt in order to cover the expense of sending their children back to school.

A new survey by the Irish League of Credit Unions has shown that, on average, parents of primary school children are in debt by £252, while parents of children at secondary school are £291 in debt! This isn’t even how much it costs to send their children to school, this is how much in debt they are after paying out on average £754 for a primary school child and a whopping £1,160 for a secondary school child!

If you are a parent, you know how hard it can be to deny your children what they feel they ‘need’; the latest equipment, branded clothing, school trips. This leads many parents getting themselves into debts to buy the things that they can’t afford, to ensure their child(ren) doesn’t feel left out.

But the debt is not all on ‘luxury’ items of branded sportswear and extravagent trips, the biggest cost for parents of primary school aged children is before/after-school care, followed by uniform costs and lunches. And I think we can all agree that care, clothing and food, can be considered essentials. Secondary school children’s biggest cost was school trips, which could be avoided, but this is followed closely by uniforms and lunches, again, essentials.

In order to meet these costs, many are getting in to debt with payday lenders, even though they simply can’t repay the lenders in the agreed time.

Another third of parents aren’t getting into debt, but are struggling to meet the cost of the new school year. They either cutting back on expenses such as household bills, holidays and food, or simply not buying what they can’t afford; things such as new shoes, spare uniform items and any extra-curricular activities.

We urge everyone reading this not to use payday lenders, many of whom charge massive interest rates and fees, and very often can lead into a spiral of debt that’s extremely difficult to get yourself out of. Whether or not you decide to use our services, we urge you to consider alternative solutions to payday or doorstep lenders.