Back to school: what Moneser parents are spending on

From extra trainers, ride-sharing and lots of printer ink, here’s what school supply shopping looks like in 2020

Melissa da September 10, 2020

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With some children around the world headed back to school and others doing distance learning, back to school costs may look a little different for many parents this year under current coronavirus circumstances. As many of our own Moneser parents prepare their little ones for the back to school season, we asked them how their spending has differed this year versus other years. They had plenty to share.

School supplies shopping

One of the first questions we asked our parents was if their children were headed back to school or doing remote learning — and (luckily for parents) most of them were going back! But as expected, some schools had a few extra requests this year on what should be included in the children’s backpacks.

Rui from Lisbon: “In Portugal, the schools are reopening, and my kid is attending preschool. The school has requested a pair of clothes in a bag, a pack of tissues and some plastic bags for used clothes. They also requested an extra pair of shoes so that when kids arrive at school, they can change their footwear and not use the ones from outdoors. It was also advised to have hand sanitiser and masks, despite not being mandatory to wear”.

Tom from Birmingham: “Both of my children went back to school last week. We bought masks and hand sanitisers despite UK children not being expected to wear masks in class. There are lots of other incidental purchases, too, like sealable plastic bags and printer ink. The schools have been expecting the children to print out work”.

Sarah from London: “We’ve had to buy hand sanitiser for each child but no masks as they are under 11”.

Kirsty from Nottingham: “Both my children are in school. My son is six, and my daughter is four, so she has just started this week. We have to provide all the kids’ pens and pencils in a pencil case that is kept on their desks at school, so there is no sharing. They also have to take a drink in a flask. No reading books are sent home, so we're being prompted to purchase reading books for home”.

Olga from London: “My son is still in kindergarten, and when it comes to wipes and sanitisers, everything is provided by the nursery. We only had to bring indoor shoes that they change into each morning when they arrive. This wasn't a requirement before”.

But not all of our Moneser parents, specifically those in Estonia, were required to make any extra, miscellaneous, pandemic-related purchases for their kids — just if they wanted to.

Triinu from Tallinn: “In Estonia, everything is quite normal. I just sent my two kids to first grade, and we only bought normal school stuff: notebooks, pencils, paper, art supplies — nothing extra. But then again, Estonia is probably different from southern European countries. I haven’t seen anyone wearing a mask in school yet”.

Eve from Tallinn: “I have two school kids, and I’ve added hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes into their school bags”.

Puneet from Tallinn: “My daughter just started going to preschool. We did buy some sanitiser spray, new bags and a few toys. It’s quite safe here in Tallinn, so no extra precautions.

Has spending gone up?

When we asked our parents if their back to school spending had risen significantly due to all the extra asks from the schools, surprisingly, many said their expenses were either the same or less than previous years. This is including and factoring in unusual expenses they normally wouldn’t have bought, such as extra laptops, work stations and ride-sharing transportation for their children.

Sarah from London: “We’re spending less as working from home means childcare hours are shorter without the commute”.

Eve from Tallinn: “In the springtime, they had to share one computer for homework. So we did buy a second one to be on the safe side if homeschooling starts again. I think I’m spending about the same — the PC would have been on the list anyway, just maybe not so soon”.

Rui from Lisbon: “Spending is the same. Most costs are going towards ride-sharing — I’ve tried to avoid my kid having exposure to public transport. Besides that, all normal”.

We also polled our Twitter community and found that most of you are also sending your kids back to school this year (81.5% versus 18.5% who are doing remote learning). Now we’d like to ask you as well: how has your back to school spending differed in 2020? Are you spending more or less on your kids? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email us at

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