The frantic scramble for secondhand school supplies is on
Save articles for later
Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.
The hunt for secondhand textbooks and school supplies has kicked off early this year, with pre-loved items hot property as families feeling the cost-of-living crunch seek to pare down their 2024 back-to-school budgets.
Secondhand booksellers and school supply businesses are gearing up for a busier than usual summer, while not-for-profits are racing to ensure they have the resources to tackle the growing list of students in need.
Les Twentyman (centre) prepares for his foundation’s Back To School Program with Ryan Bolton and Renae Liddle.Credit: Jason South
Geelong store Secondhand School Supplies, which has been running for more than a decade, is preparing for increased demand as families look to fill their booklists as cheaply as possible.
“We’re anticipating it will be a lot busier this year because of the cost of living,” said Geoff Dean, who runs the business. “This week and next week, we go from being busy to frantic.”
The rush of buying and selling has already kicked off, as families wrapping up the school year drop off their used books to sell on consignment, while others look to start ticking off next year’s list.
“If you can come in and save yourself $100, $200 or $300, people are going to do that – particularly nowadays,” he said.
Consumer spending data this year has shown that education costs are at the bottom of the list of expenses that households are willing to cut.
But retailers focused on school supplies say families are clearly hunting for ways to minimise the costs of materials and technology, including buying big-ticket items at sales usually reserved for Christmas gifts.
“We know parents are shopping through Black Friday for affordable tech, desk furniture, and stationery, as demand grows for those ‘double-duty gifts’ that cover both Christmas and back-to-school,” Officeworks general manager of merchandise Jim Berndelis said.
Not-for-profit organisations are also racing to shore up supplies to help a growing list of students in desperate need of schoolbooks and technology.
Les Twentyman Foundation general manager of programs Chris Lacey said there had been an early surge in applications for its Back to School Program.
The program accepts donations of current editions of a list of Victorian textbooks and collects technology, including laptops and calculators, to give to students who have been referred by their schools and community organisations, including First Nations and asylum seeker students.
The program helped about 550 students last year and Lacey said he expected to beat that after an early surge in applications.
“We are expecting a big uptick in demand this year – we’ll do our best to support that,” he said.
“We’re expecting to see some families that we wouldn’t normally see.”
The Smith Family general manager for Victoria, Anton Leschen, said cost-of-living pressures this year have driven more families to support services.
“Families who’ve done it tough all year … are faced with having to find money to pay for all the things their children need to start the school year,” he said.
“We are seeing a high number of families at breaking point after two consecutive years of economic turmoil and many, including those who weren’t previously struggling, are having to make impossible decisions around where to spend their money week-to-week.”
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.
Most Viewed in National
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article