Are you looking to bag back-to-school bargains before the new term begins? With all the cost of living increases, plus school uniforms, food, and stationery to think about, things can quickly start to add up this September!
Luckily, we've teamed up with the UK money bloggers community who have shared their top tips on how to save money when it comes to back-to-school expenses...
Back-to-school money-saving tips from UK Money Bloggers
Dan from The Financial Wilderness
It’s worth putting some time into reviewing your kids clothing - just because it’s September doesn’t mean new is required!
By having an idea of what you need in advance, it’ll mean being able to keep an eye out for sales rather than a last-moment buy.
Emma from Bee Money Savvy
Write a list and stick to it. This list should include any new school uniform you need as well as stationary and packed lunch supplies.
Fiona from Savvy in Somerset
Take a look around charity shops for surplus school uniform that’s been donated by high street brands. For example, my local Scope has loads of brand new M&S school uniform which is being sold at half of the original retail price. Parents get a bargain and the charity benefits too!
Emma from Mum's Savvy Savings
Really important point often overlooked is to check with the school if you are entitled to any benefits such as pupil premium as this can help with the cost of uniforms, school meals and other resources.
Many don’t claim especially in early years where all KS1 children get universal free meals anyway. Secondly see if the school has a pre loved uniform shop, it can save you lots of money on the logo branded uniforms or blazers for secondary school age.
Sammie from Up The Gains
Utilise a sinking fund in advance for purchases you know are coming. If you start this now next term time when you need to replace clothing or stationary then you’ll have the funds to do so.
The best way is to use a round up feature so you don’t notice or have to think too much about it. Over time this will build up and you’ll quickly have more than you need!
Faith from Much More With Less
If you are not entitled to free school lunches, weigh up the cost of school dinners vs packed lunches. Depending on what the school charges, it could be cheaper to send in packed lunches. If you have a picky eater, it may mean they eat more too.
Yasmin from The Wallet Moth
Audit the school supplies you currently have - you probably have a lot more perfectly good pens and pencils, other stationary, and pencil cases than you initially thought.
If you can make the school supplies you already have last another couple of months, you'll be able to spread the cost and focus your spending on items you really need before the start of the school year.
Doing an audit of school supplies can also be extended to uniform and sportswear, and means you don't end up replacing everything in one go every year!
Melissa from Skinny Spending
Label EVERYTHING that goes into school! From water bottles, pencil cases, coats to uniform. Speaking as a primary school teacher, the number of lost items in school each week is staggering and kids are bafflingly reluctant to claim stuff. A small investment in a name stamper or stickers will pay for itself 10 times over.
Hayley from Miss Many Pennies
Since schools are no longer allowed to require branded uniform, you can save money going to supermarkets - most of the bigger ones have good ranges of school uniform available for reasonable prices.
Better yet, see if your school or community has a swap shop/uniform bank. Our local school has a huge collection of donated/outgrown uniform and parents can take what they need free of charge. Community centres often run uniform banks too, it's always worth checking!
Victoria from Lylia Rose
If you have boys and girls then opt for gender neutral uniform where possible so you can pass clothes down to siblings easily. For example, opt for jumpers instead of cardigans or plain shirts instead of scalloped shirts.
Claire from Stapo's Thrifty Life Hacks
Find out if there’s a school uniform initiative where you live. I know of two places locally where you can pick up secondhand school uniform for free. Think of it as recycling or accepting a hand-me-down.
It’s good to pay kind deeds forward, so make sure donate any items that your kids have grown out of, which are still in good condition, whilst you’re there. I’d also advise keeping your eye on Facebook Marketplace is you need to buy an expensive item such as a school blazer.
If a local parent has a one sat in the wardrobe that no longer fits, they may be looking to sell it on for a fraction of the usual price (or even be offering it for free!)
Joseph from Money Saving Superhero
Buy early. By being prepared and looking at current uniform early in the school holidays you can figure out what you need to buy and get it whilst it's in stock.
The last thing you want is to shop the supermarket bargain uniform section and realise they have ran out of the size you need. You might then have to spend more for that specific size elsewhere.
Deepak from Latest Free Stuff
Kids grow up really fast and they outgrow clothes even quicker. You'll find lots of barely worn secondhand school items on Facebook Marketplace, eBay and in charity shops. Perfect for your little ones. By buying secondhand or pre-used, you're also doing your bit for the environment, so it's win win.
Taryn from Saving in London City
For those driving to school, try to find any local parents interested in sharing lifts, and cut down on petrol costs.
Olly from Savvy Dad
Parents and carers have a large sway with the power of social media and PTAs. It may be worth, the current climate, grouping together to write to your child's school asking for uniforms to be paused.
Failing that, ensure that you're not being asked to pay for extortionate personalised uniforms as there's no shame whatsoever in utilising the offer for high street chains and supermarkets.
Also, make use of brand outlets, clearance retail parks and customer returns for huge discounts on school footwear. Schuh Imperfects and Office Outlets are great examples.
Helen from The Complaining Cow
Ways to save money on uniform:
1) Check the quality of the item before you buy. Give the uniform a pull and a stretch see if any stitching will come undone when worn once!
2) Buy early, try one item and give it a wash before buying others to check how they will last from regular washing.
3) Shop around, use comparison websites for absolutely anything!
4) Buy at the end of term too. Some supermarkets have discounts then and at certain times of the year. If you can, when the supermarkets have their offers on buy the next size up of everything as well.
You don't know when your chid will need the next size up and it might not be when the offers are on!
5) Remember that it doesn’t matter how cheap the items are, you are still covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You are entitled to goods that are of satisfactory quality and that last a reasonable length of time.
If they don’t meet this, then take them back with your proof of purchase and gain a refund or replacement (or repair!)