Rising costs of school supplies hitting parents' back pockets

The start of another school year has begun, with some Auckland students returning on Tuesday.

But with inflation at record levels, it's not so straightforward getting children through the front gate.

Some parents agonise about the costs associatedwith children going back to school.

"Filling the lunchboxes, stationery, and your kids grow up a lot over the holidays, so uniforms," one person told Newshub.

"The cost of a Chromebook and that stuff, it adds a lot more money," another said.

That's money people increasingly don't have. Arun Ganda, the deputy principal at Nga Iwi School in Auckland's Māngere, said it's a juggle for their families.

"Do I feed my kids or do I get my tyre fixed? Do I get the rainjacket or do I get the tyre fixed?" he said.

Students there get support from some charities, like KidsCan and Variety, for school lunches, raincoats, and shoes, among other things. The school also picks up some of the costs for parents.

"Things like Chromebooks, extra stationery, we cover that but then that hurts our bottom line to then cover things like more teacher aides, facilities for our schools," Ganda said.

He said things were a challenge last year for their families and this year is even worse, especially when it comes to buying uniforms.

"A shirt would be $5, $10, $15 dollars more expensive. A fleecy top is $5, $10, $15 dollars more expensive, and you start to buy multiple of them because you have three or four kids. That adds up pretty quickly," Garda said.

Even in affluent Epsom in central Auckland, parents aren't immune.

"They're certainly purchasing the compulsory items and then the optional items, just taking some more time as to whether they will need those," said Auckland Grammar School headmaster Tim O'Connor.

It's no surprise the number of families needing help with everyday items is on the up. Variety, a charity that helps children in need, has had its waitlist double since August.

"We had 733, we're now at over 1400 children in the community who need a sponsor," said Variety CEO Susan Glasgow.

And they're from all over the country.

"We've got 350 families in Canterbury, for example, waiting for a sponsor for their children."

Because it's no small feat to get your child school-ready.

"Shoes, even book packs, that's gone up quite a bit," one person told Newshub.

"When we're going shopping, it's like, 'This is gone up $3 or $4'," another said.