Back to school, a heavy burden for families

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With the new school year in Hungary starting in less than three weeks, families need to start preparations. This comes at a cost, which, in the case of a family with three children, can amount to HUF 120,000, according to family finances website penzcentrum.hu.

The lowest amount needed for starting school is HUF 10,000-20,000, penzcentrum.hu estimates. This buys strictly the most necessary equipment and does not include electronics or furniture.

The National Association of Large Families (NOE) told penzcentrum.hu that in the case of families with 3-4 children, the costs of schooling can vary from HUF 30,000 to HUF 120,000, depending on needs such as bags, clothes, and stationery. Paradoxically, their situation is easier, as in large families children can inherit used items from older family members - brothers, sisters, cousins - while schoolbooks are free for large families.

Back to school time is especially difficult for parents raising children alone. In Hungary there are about 300,000 families with one parent, many of them living on or below the poverty line.

According to data gathered by penzcentrum.hu, prices for various products are typically as follows:
- school bag: HUF 2,000-3,000 for basic models; ergonomic bags are priced at HUF 10,000-15,000
- sports bag: HUF 600-2,000
- pencil case: HUF 2,000-5,000
- copybook: HUF 50-600
- basic laptop: HUF 80,000-130,000
- table: HUF 10,000-35,000
- lamp: HUF 3,000-20,000

Average net earnings in Hungary are about HUF 215,000.

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