Family budget constraints worry 32% of Latvians in the back to school season

  • 2023-08-04

The recent economic turmoil has affected the financial situation of many Latvian households, which will make it difficult to buy the necessary school supplies as the new school year approaches. Almost a third, or 32%, of Latvian households surveyed will face financial constraints, according to a survey* conducted by shopping and entertainment centre AKROPOLE. As a result, a large share of respondents will change their shopping habits, preferring discounted goods, reusable goods and cheaper alternatives.

In the run-up to the new school year, almost a quarter, or 23%, of respondents say that not being able to reconcile their child's wishes with their family budget will be one of their biggest challenges. The same number of respondents say that lack of time to buy everything they need will be an equal challenge. As another challenge 14% of the Latvian population point to the difference in taste between parents and children, while the same number of respondents point to limitations in the range or accessibility of the offer due to their location. Less than a tenth, or 9%, say that the inability to combine the demands of school with household budgets will be a challenge this year.

“The coming school year invariably generates both positive and negative emotions among parents and pupils. For some it brings more joy, for others more worry and anxiety. According to the data, families with limited financial means find this time more emotionally difficult. This is not only due to financial pressure, but also emotional pressure, as decisions have to be made rationally, weighing options rather than children's wishes. Although there is no shortage of anxiety and stress at this time, it is good to see in the data that preparing for school can also bring some families together and make them feel much closer. The challenges that families face in preparing for school are broadly similar across all demographic groups. It is interesting to observe that among younger families, time is also a big challenge to get everything ready,” says Linda Ezera, Head of Norstat Latvia.

Given the financial constraints, more than half (53%) of the respondents plan to keep up to date and buy more often with discounts or promotions, while a third (33%) plan to reuse items from previous school years. Some (16%) also plan to skip buying certain items or choose cheaper alternatives.

“Changes in shopping habits in response to price rises are enabling a large part of the population to buy the goods they need for the start of school. However, this approach will be more difficult for the most vulnerable in society, i.e. low-income Latvian families who face various financial challenges on a daily basis. Given the economic pressures, preparing for the new school season will be particularly difficult, so this year's support for pupils from low-income families will be especially needed and appreciated,” says Valdis Portnajs, Manager of AKROPOLE Rīga.

Taking care of Latvia's low-income families, AKROPOLE shopping centres organise the annual charity campaign “Let's help prepare for school together”, where together with the charity organisation and partners we invite people to donate new clothes, shoes, stationery and other items useful for school to children from low-income families and Ukrainian families who have taken refuge in our country. Last year, the campaign donated more than EUR 4000 and helped dozens of Latvian pupils and Ukrainian refugee families prepare for the new school year.