More than a third of parents dip into their savings to fund back-to-school costs of almost £175, research suggests.
The average figure of £174.31 per child is a drop of £12 on last year, suggesting mums and dads may be feeling a financial squeeze, according to Nationwide Current Accounts' annual survey.
It found 37% use their savings to fund the cost, while a quarter turned to the credit card.
More than one in 10 parents also said they were asking grandparents to chip in.
And while more than three-quarters mainly made their purchases during the school holidays, one in seven looked for bargains at the end of the previous school year.
School uniform is the most expensive purchase, at an average of £32.73.
Other high cost items include shoes, jackets and coats, and sports kit.
Shops designated by the school tend to be where parents buy, or need to buy, jumpers and sweatshirts, ties, sports kits and blazers, the research found.
But supermarkets and department stories were considered attractive options where possible.
The full rundown:
:: School uniform, £32.73
:: School shoes, £27.25
:: Jackets and coats, £22.52
:: Sports shoes, £19.96
:: Sports kit, £16.68
:: Sports equipment, £8.70
:: School bags, £13.53
:: Stationery, £9.94
:: Books, £7.92
:: Lunch boxes, £7.11
:: Technology, £7.97
Nationwide Current Accounts surveyed 2,000 parents with children aged between four and 16.