Inflation, demand and waste… Supplies, a bore for parents?

A large square spiral notebook, 207 pages to be exact, with a green cover and made entirely of recycled cardboard… Each year, the purchase of school supplies, with its sometimes incredible requirements (this one being fictitious), does not affect the crowds. Kind of Christmas shopping without the creativity and love of neighbor part. But on the eve of the start of the new school year, the search for compasses, erasers and 30-centimeter rulers is reaching heights of challenge. Mainly checkout.

According to the annual study of the trade union confederation of families (CSF), parents face an increase in costs of 11.3% on average compared to last year. Count 233 euros for a pupil in primary, against 190 euros in 2022 (+ 23%), 371 euros for a college student (+ 3.5%) and 427 euros for a high school student (+ 3.1%). A budget that is all the tighter in that it is not only school supplies that are increasing. In August, headline inflation was 4.8% over one year, and is still slow to fall.

Empty pockets to fill the school bag

Faced with this massive offensive against the wallet, many parents are no longer coping. “With only one child and income just above CAF thresholds, we have no help. This year, we failed to save for the start of the school year. Our incomes are not increasing and inflation remains very high on food, energy and supplies,” explains Sarah, who responded to our call for testimonials. According to a study by Yomoni*, a specialist in online savings management, nearly one in ten French people are thinking of taking out a bank or student loan to fill the school bag, while 8% of respondents will do additional work, with seasonal or part-time jobs.

Sarah also regrets the lack of time to organize this kind of purchase: “For several years, due to Covid and teacher turnover, we have not had a list of supplies before the start of the school year. We’ll know what to buy next. There will no longer be any possibility of anticipating or taking the time to look for the best prices. »

Reuse or bet on the new, the great debate

For lack of budget, some parents opt for reuse. Still according to Yomoni’s study, 32% of French people keep certain school supplies from previous years. “We reuse supplies, we sharpen pencils, we only replace what no longer works, we don’t change schoolbags. In the end, there aren’t that many things to buy, at most 80 euros for my 3 children,” calculates Irène.

Ditto with Charlotte: “My daughter goes into CE1 and has had the same pencil and the same kit since the middle section, it’s rather profitable! “A choice that is not unanimous. Mathieu still has scars from his school bullying, and for him, there is no question of letting his boy come to class with second-hand supplies: “I know how superficial and mean college students can be. I don’t want my son to be exposed to silly comments because of his supplies. I prefer to go into a bit of debt and buy him the highest quality equipment possible. Like him, 11% of French people buy new, state-of-the-art products, while 41% of parents opt for the cheapest new products.

The list of school supplies more and more spied on and criticized

Conclusion of these galley purchases, the list of supplies is a source of criticism. Bertrand denounces “a useless abyss from any point of view”, and does not fail to list each incongruity that he finds in this device: “Each year, the teachers demand such and such a notebook with different dimensions, in such a color, with so many pages, only to end up not using it or at a third of its capacity. I’m not talking about never-opened schoolbooks replaced by tons of photocopies. Don’t forget the boxes of colored pencils, markers, paints and brushes, used 3 times a year. »

Same criticism from Martine: “I never understood why some teachers asked to buy notebooks of 100 or 200 pages when at the end of the year, they had only used about thirty. »

A good time for others, and yes

But since it takes everything to make a world, some of our readers see the event as a source of joy. Yes, yes, we swear. “I love shopping for school supplies. I take my children and let them choose. The only rule is to stick to the list, and then take care of their belongings because in case of loss, however, I replace with basics! “, Boasts Charlotte. “I find it important that they associate back-to-school with something pleasant and that they have things that they like to bring a little fun to homework. »

Finally, there are those for whom supplies are just the tip of the iceberg of concern. “The anxiety is rather the countless files (school, sport, canteen, extracurricular…) where you have to provide X documents, certificates of residence…”, plague Cécile. Be careful, one problem can hide another.

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