PARENTS CUT SMALL COSTS
THOUGH parents may be eager to get their children out of the house and back into the classroom, the cost of doing so leaves many penny pinching as the new school year draws closer.
Parents across Central Queensland are scrambling to make ends meet to keep up with increasingly expensive book lists, stationery and uniform costs.
Rockhampton mother Rebecca Richardson took advantage of the launch of Centacare CQ’s School Savvy Pop-Up Shop yesterday to nab herself a couple of bargains.
With the help of St Vincent de Paul, Lifeline and local businesses, Centacare CQ has received donations of stationery supplies, pre-loved uniforms and monetary donations from the community to provide cheaper alternatives.
Ms Richardson has three children, aged eight, 11 and 14 years, and said the cost of sending them back to school each year was huge.
“Especially with high school. I’ve got one child in high school and another next year,” she said.
“Just for my oldest, we’ve got a $200 calculator we have to buy. For one calculator.
“It’s very, very expensive to get them back to school.”
For one 96-page exercise book, Ms Richardson normally pays 50 cents to $1 at retail stores, however at the pop-up shop she scored five books for $1.
For most primary school students, there can be up to 14 notebooks on a book list.
“It’s a big, big difference,” she said. “The uniform (shirts) are $1 each and high school uniforms are $40-plus.
“If anyone is struggling, this is definitely a way to be able to prepare your kids for school and get a few books to help out.”
Centacare CQ project co-ordinator Anna Morris said the morning had been a big success, with about 100 thrifty parents pouring through the doors within the first hour.
“It’s been great to see,” she said. Centacare Far North Queensland approached the Rockhampton office after seeing success in the School Savvy program for the past three years.
“We jumped on board and the feedback has been that there’s a need for it,” Ms Morris said.
From January 14–18, Rockhampton and Yeppoon will host pop-ups, and from January 17–18 Mount Morgan will too.
“There’s a fair few people saying this is a great idea and that they need this,” Ms Morris said.
“Now that Christmas is gone, they’re starting to regroup and think about how they’re going to manage the start of the school year.
“Although it’s concerning to see there’s such a need in our community for that, we’d just like to be able to help them.”
According to Ms Morris, the rising costs of living and school supplies doesn’t just impact one demographic – everyone is feeling the pinch.
“I don’t think you can neatly categorise people into who needs and who doesn’t,” she said.
“Households with two incomes are still struggling nowadays.
“There’s a need for help and the rising costs associated with sending kids to school are hard enough but if you have multiple kids on top of that, it can become quite unmanageable.”
Another bargain includes pencil cases for $4, inclusive of all the basics.
For high school students, excluding a calculator, the average cost of a pencil case is about $20.
Uniforms are also selling for $3 a branded item, whereas store-bought ones can get up to $35 for a polo shirt.
A local hairdresser also attended the Rockhampton pop-up on Monday to provide free basic back-to-school trims for children.
The stores will be open until close date or until stocks run out.
Keep updated through Centacare CQ’s Facebook page.
BARGAIN HUNTERS: About 100 people turned up to nab a bargain at Rockhampton's School Savvy Pop-Up Shop yesterday; INSET: Rebecca and Aliesha Richardson getting their supplies.