Saving On Back to School Costs.
My daughter is starting school this September (wahh!) and I am suddenly aware of all of the things that I need to buy her before she starts. Luckily they don’t need things like pens in Reception (I had no idea!) but there are still some items that I do need to get, so I have been researching the best places to get them from and tips for keeping the costs down.
Make a list of what you actually need to get
As mentioned, I thought that I needed to get pens and things for my daughter, so I would have bought them if I wasn’t made aware that I didn’t need them. It’s so easy to go shopping and just throw a load of pretty school supplies into the trolley and spend loads. Write down a list of the items that you actually need to buy, such as:
- Rulers, protractors
- Pencil case
- Polo tops
- P.E kit
Take a stock inventory in your house
Before rushing off to buy the items on your list, have a look round your house first and see if you have anything lying around that you had forgotten about. Best check the kitchen drawer that is full of who knows what! Pens are something that everyone seems to have a lot of in various places in the home – this can save you some upfront money if you have a bunch of stuff at home already.
See where you can buy generic items, such as pencils and pens – it is not necessary to spend a lot of money on those kind of supplies so buy cheap wherever you can. Supermarkets can be good for these.
Buy in bulk with friends
If there are a pack of 100 pens, you probably aren’t going to use them all! Speak to your friends or neighbours and see if they would like to go halves with you on any of the school supplies to keep the costs down.
Add bits to your trolley here and there
Whilst doing the food shopping, if you put an item (that you actually need) in with your shop here and there, the cost won’t be one huge amount all in one go.
Cut down on the cost of uniform
A school uniform can be one of the most expensive parts of buying school supplies, so it is important to try and keep this cost down. There have been some very low priced school uniforms being put out by supermarkets lately – time to snap them up before they are all sold out! Check with your school if your children need to wear the branded uniform – could save a lot of cash if they don’t.
Has 2x cotton polo shirts, stain repellant trousers or skirt and a sweatshirt for the total price of £4.
Changed their school uniform package price due to competition from Lidl – for the same bundle of clothes down to £3.69.
Usually have 25% off around the last week of August if you are brave enough to face the frantic queues! The same items cost around £13.50.
The same items listed above are sold through Tesco for £6.75. They also have an embroidery service where they will put the school logo on the uniform for you. Click here and enter the name of your school (they donate 5% to the school when buying through them too).
The same package of clothes comes to around £7.50 and are highly praised by parents.
Don’t forget to check the various Next clearance shops that are dotted throughout the country, as they could have some cheap school uniform items.
BHS are going into administration, so they have reductions across all of their products. Now is the time to snap them up! There are a lot of clothes available (online also) for between 30-50% off.
There are a lot of other shops that offer school uniforms, such as M&S (who are launching an autism friendly school wear range on the 1st of August), Matalan and John Lewis. The cheaper school uniforms have received high praise for strength after washing and durability. It may be worth buying a size up as they grow so quickly!
Check for second hand uniform and supplies
Look in car boot sales, charity shops and some schools run a second hand uniform shop also. Could pick up a bargain!
Help with school uniform costs
Some councils help with school uniform costs (including P.E. kits). Check with your local council if they offer such help through the link above and if you are eligible.
Another high cost of going back to school is the school shoes, because they are subject to a lot of wear and tear from the children running around, playing football in them etc. So it is definitely worth buying a decent pair of school shoes that will hopefully last until their feet have grown and they need a new pair. Just make sure that you get their feet measured and that the shoes fit correctly. Some shops that have received good reviews for their school shoes are below:
Obviously Clarks is a favourite choice for a lot of parents, because they are generally very high quality shoes. If you have a Clarks outlet near to you, it may be worth taking a trip there to see if they have any in their size at a reduced price.
I have heard good things about Asda’s school shoes. They have plimsolls starting from £2.50 up to leather shoes for around £20.
Marks and Spencer
This store is another favourite because of the thought that because they are more expensive then they are better quality (not always the case, of course). They have plimsolls starting from £4.50 up to leather shoes for around £36.
I have heard really good things about some Kickers shoes which are half price on here – Kickers Girls Plunk Bar IF Mary Jane Flats 112728 Black 6 UK Child, 23 EU. These are probably the ones that I am going to get for my daughter. They have a rubber outsole on the toe which should help with scuffing.
Check out this website which has branded shoes at reduced prices.
They currently have a sale on some of their school shoes, with quite a good range available. Boys and girls school shoes.
There are lots of other good places that sell school shoes such as Tesco and Sports Direct. The ones listed above are ones that I have personally heard good things about.
There are some pretty cute backpacks out there, but the general consensus is to pay a little bit extra for a backpack that will actually last. Here’s a cute one for the girls: Hibote Backpack and one for the boys: Hype Backpack.
Make sure you check if you are eligible for free school meals here. All children up to Year 2 are entitled to free school meals in state funded infant schools. This definitely helps saving on back to school costs.
Throughout the school year there can be various school trips and activities which can quickly add up. Ask your school if they have a list or an idea of when these will be and roughly how much they will be – then you can budget for this (put it on the calendar!).
Look for some free printables for schedules, planners, stickers, lunchbox notes and more! I’ve added some to my Free Printables board on Pinterest if you fancy taking a look.
If anyone else has any back to school money saving tips, I would as always, love to hear in the comments below!
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