The summer's definitely starting to wobble now and shops are already dusting off their Christmas displays. That can only mean one thing: the kids are finally heading back to school! Before you start making sandwiches and laying down "no internet before homework" rules, take a moment to count the cost. Your school days may be long over, but there are still a few lessons you can learn.

Getting the kids back to school isn't cheap. Depending on ages and growth spurts, you could be looking at a new set of clothes for the classroom and playing field. If, God help you, your children are talented in some way, an expensive trip to the sport, art or music shop may be called for. Homework demands may mean shelling out for laptops to keep the household PC free in the evenings and charges for before and afterschool clubs and trips can quickly add up. Everywhere you look, you're likely to find hidden extra costs to budget for and tough questions to answer. Here are a few of the key facts and figures to study.

Average Back to School Costs Per Child:

The average total cost of preparing a child for school in the UK according to research by Lloyds has reached:

  • £1,192 for primary school aged children (4 to 10 year olds),

  • £1,108 for secondary school pupils (11-18 year olds).

Uniforms

  • Primary School Age: £140

  • Secondary School Age: £250

  • College Age: £325

Other costs

  • largest ongoing cost for parents of primary school children is childcare at £329 a year

  • lunches for 11-18 year-olds stack up to £260

  • Clubs, school trips and activities add up to £170 for primary age and £204 a year for secondary school children.

Of course, those numbers don't even take other related term-time fees into account. Child care, for example, can ramp those costs up a lot. Even lunches can add hundreds of pounds to the bill. Of course, depending on where you live, your costs can vary a lot. In the south of England, for instance, you could pay up to 40% more than the average over the school year - £1,175 per child, versus £837 for the rest of the UK.

Back To School loans

If those numbers sound scary, it's easy to see why so many parents are falling into the "back to school loan" trap.

With more people worried about school costs than paying for holidays, it sounds like a life-saver in principle. You're offered a much needed few hundred pounds right now to get you through the rough patch. After that, you pay it back in smaller chunks when the heat's supposedly off.

The thing is, you'll end up paying a lot more this way, and there are better ways to get that money. With a back to school loan, you can easily find yourself lumbered with a 200% rate or higher! How's that for a scary number?

What's the solution?

At RIFT Refunds, we don't even make you turn to the back of the book to find out!

Unlike a loan, a tax refund is money that belongs to you in the first place. You're not storing up trouble for the future by claiming it. In fact, getting your refund sorted this year actually makes it easier to claim again in future! Depending on the kind of work you do, you might be owed tax relief on things like:

  • The travel you've done for work.
  • Repairing and maintaining any tools you use.
  • Any specialised or protective clothing you need to clean.
  • Food and accommodation costs you've paid from your own pocket.

RIFT Refunds are the UK's top tax experts. We've been keeping the taxman honest for over 15 years, and we're the best in the business. An average 4-year tax refund claimed through us comes to a whopping £2,500. Get in touch today and let us teach you a thing or two about taxes.