Single mum sells her car to afford back-to-school essentials as living costs spiral

When Corryn Harding's children opened their presents under the Christmas tree and found school bags and shoes, their faces fell. "They were a little bit sad that they

were school items," the single mother of three said. Ms Harding is one of thousands of Australian families who will miss out on essential school items this year, amid rising

cost-of-living pressures. It has cost the mother from Hebersham in Sydney's outer north-west around $500 to get the kids back to school, including three new bags and two

pairs of shoes and stationery. Ms Harding also recently sold her car to cope with expenses. Now she has to borrow her ex-partner's vehicle. "It's very stressful

because I managed to get the [school camp] deposit down, then I saw the weeks creeping up on me and I thought, 'no, I can't afford it this week'," she said. Ms Harding

sticks to a strict budget for groceries and plans ahead for school expenses. But already this year, it's been a battle to cover the essentials. "Starting halfway

through last year, I started collecting stuff," she said. "I have a school expenses account that I transfer money into every week, otherwise the kids do, sadly, miss

out. "I catalogue surf. I go from Coles to Aldi to Woolworths to get all the cheapest items, so I don't spend so much."Families miss out on school supplies A survey of

2,000 families doing it tough by charity The Smith Family, which has launched a push for new sponsors, has found thousands of children will this year miss out on essential items

like digital devices, uniforms and shoes.