Stephanie Meuli knows how expensive it is to prepare for a new school year because she has four school-aged kids heading back for another year of learning.

Parents have been busy buying school uniforms and stationery preparing for the new year. Ms Meuli is on of those parents.

"I have four kids so usually it's hand-me-downs but sometimes we have to upgrade a few of the uniform items.

"We also recycle stationery, so my girls use the same ring binders or clear files," she said.

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This year Ms Meuli spent $391 on updating uniform items for her children. She purchased two pairs of shorts, six polo shirts and one polar fleece.

"They do last a long time," she said "I've even taking uniforms into the sewing shop to get them repaired and that can cost $12. I'd rather uniform over mufti," she said.

Buying stationery this year has been cheaper than previous years as her son, who is in Year 12, is doing a vocational pathway to industries which means he will do polytech standards with the goal of getting an apprenticeship.

This means, instead of spending $300 on stationery as she did last year, Ms Meuli has spent $133.

But the extra expense this year will be paying for the school bus which costs $140 per child per term. Ms Meuli moved out of the school zone to Ruakaka but because her kids were settled at Tauraroa Area School they wanted to stay at that school.

The school uniform shop

Whangarei's Bethells Uniform shop has been busy with parents shopping.

Owner Michelle Batty showed us how much it would cost to purchase a Whangarei Girls' High School uniform and a Whangarei Boys' High School uniform.

For the Girls' High uniform Ms Batty recommends two blouses, a skirt as well as a pair of shorts and a T-shirt for physical education; this costs $193.20.

For the Whangarei Boys' High School uniform Ms Batty recommends two polo shirts, two pairs of shorts, three socks, and a physical education shirt; this costs $195.30

"They're made to last. It is designed for uniform use. We know how many students wear this," she said.

"A lot of families split it [the expense]. Because we've had a lovely summer they will buy the warm stuff later in the year."

Ms Batty said a lot of families also layby uniforms and grandparents often buy vouchers for the store for their grandchildren's uniforms.

"We have families who started laybying in August. We have other families who put money aside and by the time they get to January the uniform is paid for," she said.

Whangarei Girls' High School uniform:
2 x blouse = $93.80 or $46.90 each
1 x skirt = $49.90
1 x short PE = $29.50
1 x T-shirt PE = $20.00
Total = $193.20

Whangarei Boys' High School uniform
2 x polo shirts = $59.80 or $29.90 each
2 x shorts = $71.00 or $35.50 each
3 socks = $43.50 or $14.50 each
1 x PE shirt = $21.00
Total = $195.30