Parents say they are missing out on food in order to deal with back-to-school costs.
Children's charity Barnardos has compiled new research which shows some households are leaving bills unpaid to ensure children have what they need for the new term.
Costs have remained stable or reduced slightly since 2011, but parents continue to struggle to meet schools’ demands with increasingly stretched household incomes.
On average parents are paying €355 for a child in senior infants, €390 for children in 4th class in primary school and €770 for children going into first year.
Barnardos has welcomed a code of practice agreed with school book publishers under which they have said they will try to avoid publishing new editions, but says parents are not seeing the benefits yet.
Barnardos chief Fergus Finlay said parents were living on the edge all the time, and called for the introduction of free school books as happens in Scotland.
"We all know unemployment has gone up (and that) family incomes have been squeezed," he said."This is a huge additional burden."
He added the right to an education was the only constitutional right that every child was supposed to have.
"It drives me mad…that this right is being compromised year after year by costs which are getting further and further beyond parents."