Parents who increasingly have to fork out for iPads, extracurricular activities and uniforms when their children go back to school, are being advised to budget carefully to avoid being pulled into a cycle of debt.

PayPlan says that while the price of uniforms has been driven down in recent years, families still have to pay out for tech equipment, branded blazers and sports kits, as well as sport, music and after-school clubs. According to research from Nationwide*, the average cost of going back to school in 2016 was £186.24 per child, with clothing and shoes accounting for the biggest spend.

Jane Clack, money adviser at PayPlan and chair of the Institute of Money Advisers (IMA) warned that the high costs could compound debt problems for householders already struggling financially “September has always been an expensive time of year for parents who need to kit out growing children with new uniforms, coats and shoes. Of course, technology like iPads and laptops can really help pupils with their studies, but there’s no denying that it comes at a cost to parents, who may have to take out a loan or use a credit card to pay for it.”

“All this comes at a time when a lot of families are seeing their finances squeezed because of the summer holidays when they had to spend more money entertaining the kids as well as paying for childcare.”

“We shouldn’t forget that winter is just around the corner, so once back to school season is over, people may find themselves with higher energy bills and the expense of Christmas. Wherever possible, it makes sense to be frugal now and plan ahead.”