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Buying a school uniform on a budget

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However many children you have, buying school uniform can be an expensive business. Today most schools have some form of uniform, even for their nursery class, but there are ways you can keep the costs down. Here are our tip tips for buying a school uniform on a budget.

With the average cost of school uniform for primary children reaching £156 and £285 for secondary pupils, any way in which you can save money would help your finances. The costs can be particularly expensive at the start of the academic year, but uniform might also need replacing throughout the year if children have outgrown it, lost items or they become worn.

Check the uniform policy

Before you start shopping around it’s important to check exactly what uniform your school requires. Some schools state that certain items must carry the school logo, whereas others just stipulate that specific colours must be worn. You don’t want to be wasting money buying items that can’t be worn. The Government is set to implement rules that will ban schools from having exclusive supply contracts with one outlet, as well as encouraging them to keep the number of essential branded items to a minimum.

Think about what you need

Some parents can waste money by buying too many pieces of uniform at once. Instead you should just buy the minimum you can get away with. There’s no point going over board, as your children probably won’t get the wear out of them before they become too small. You might be able to get more than one day’s wear out of some items, such as trousers, skirts and jumpers. Also think about how often you wash every week, as this might mean you won’t need to buy a full week’s worth.

Second hand clothing

budget uinformsThis can be a good way of picking up branded items for much less than they cost new. If you’ve got older children have a look through the clothes you put away and see if there’s anything you can use. Alternatively, if you haven’t got any old uniform see if you have any friends who have some they want to pass on. Some schools have local second hand outlets or you can also look online. Those items that don’t get a lot of wear, such as blazers, are particularly good second hand buys. As long as they’re clean and in good condition they should be acceptable.

Shop around

All the major supermarkets sell school uniform now. They tend to have extensive stocks in at the start of term, but they’ll have items in all year and they can also be bought online. The prices can vary, so have a look around and see what the cheapest places to buy from are.

Allow for growing

Until they reach their teenage years, most children will grow throughout the school year. Therefore, it’s important to consider this when buying their uniform, as it’ll help it last longer. Look for clothes with adjustable waists, so you can let them out as they grow. It’s also possible to take up the hems on trousers, skirts and dresses. This way you can buy them a bit bigger and get more wear out of them. Ensure that they fit your child comfortably and don’t fall down.

Durability

There are plenty of places to buy school uniform cheaply, such as supermarkets. However, you need to ensure that you’re getting value for money and the uniform will actually last as long as you need it. Consider what the clothing is produced from and choose materials that are easy to wash and iron. You should pay particular attention to areas that are prone to wear, such as the knees in trousers. If you’ve not had to buy uniform before, ask friends and relatives for recommendations on good places to buy from.

Label everything

It can be a pain at the start of term to have to label all your child’s clothing, but it could save you a lot of money in the long run. You don’t have to sew everything on; even just writing their name with a fabric pen will be enough. This way if anything gets lost or another pupil takes it by mistake, it’ll be much easier to return it and you won’t have to spend money replacing items.

School uniform will always be costly to buy, but by following these tips it should make it a bit easier on your purse.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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