With another school year just around the corner, the race is on to buy the long list of supplies before classes begin again.
However, for Queanbeyan mother Naomi Reeves, there's one school expense that stands out above the rest.
"We had to fork out a huge amount of money on a new laptop for our daughter," she said.
"It was easily the biggest expense."
Ms Reeves had to pay almost $1500 on a new MacBook for her daughter Zoe, who is starting year 7 this year at a school with a bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
While all public school students in the ACT between years 7 and 11 will be receiving free Chromebook laptops from the territory government this year, a growing number of primary schools as well as Catholic and private schools are requiring students to bring their own laptops into the classroom.
Ms Reeves said it's expected the laptop should last for several years at school, with students using it for most of their subjects, despite still needing physical text books.
"They gave us a list of technical specifications and they would need to be able to do video and have a microphone as well," she said.
"There was a list of what subjects that they were to be used for, so assignments would also have to be submitted online."
She said many families were feeling the pinch for the large expenses.
"There's a lot of families who aren't happy about it. We didn't have laptops at school and we got on fine," Ms Reeves said.
Meanwhile, the roll out of free laptops to public high school students will begin in the first few weeks of term.
Education Minister Yvette Berry said the initiative was the first time there had been universal access in public school in any state or territory.
"This initiative will ensure every secondary student in Canberra public schools has the same access to a device to enhance their learning through technology," she said.
"Irrespective of family circumstances, every student will have an equal opportunity to access technology-based learning when and where they need it."
For Roseanna Harris, whose eldest of three is going into year 9, the prospect of government-funded laptops has come as a relief.
"It was only two-years ago when I had it thrown in my face that my kids needed laptops at school," she said.
The single mother had to previously loan a laptop from the school in order to meet the BYOD policy, and while the laptops this year will be supplied by the government, she said there's still the risk of high costs.
"If they're broken or damaged, you would have to pay it all back," she said.