Tracking down cheap school uniform is top of mind as a third of parents are worried about the cost of sending their kids back to school after the summer holiday, recent research has shown.
According to the survey, by financial charity Turn2us, more than one in three parents also feel that there are too many extras, like school trips, books and sports equipment, to pay for when sending children to school.
And 12% of those questioned said they feel guilty that their child isn’t always as well-dressed for school as other pupils.
Kitting out a child in a set of brand-new uniform can cost well over £100. However, there are several ways you can save money, find cheap school uniform and still make sure your child looks smart!
1. Dodge the official uniform school shop
If you want to find cheap school uniform and buy it new, try to avoid getting it from the specialist school uniform retailer recommended by your child’s school.
Much cheaper deals are usually available from supermarkets and general clothing retailers. See our top deals round-up at the bottom of the page!
2. Avoid overspending on logos
Some schools require you to buy specific items, branded with the school’s logo. This can be a real pain, as they are usually much more expensive than ‘generic’ equivalents.
If your child’s school does insist on this, see if you can find the items on either Your School Uniform or My School Uniform. Both websites sell school uniforms - with logos - direct from the manufacturers. Cutting out the ‘middle men’ retailers in this way could save you pounds.
It’s also worth asking the school whether logos are available to buy separately as stitch-on/iron-on products - and then attaching these to generic schoolwear items.
3. Double-check whether you really need it
Before you buy any item of school uniform, double-check that your child really needs it. Many items are compulsory, but some are optional: For example, many primary schools (even those with uniform) let the younger children do PE in their vests and pants.
Ebay is, of course, a great place to find good quality school uniform items at a fraction of their normal price.
Also find out when your school is running its next school uniform sale. There are usually some great bargains to be had as older children grow out of barely-worn items.
And if your child has been at the same school for a while, see if you can sell some of his or her outgrown clothes there, and make some money back!
Finally, check the charity shops nearest to the school. Many now have dedicated school uniform rails.
5. Get stuff for free!
If your child is going to the school for the first time in September, see if you can attend any ‘getting to know each other’ parent events before then. If you meet parents with older children, there’s a chance they may offer to give you the school uniform items their kids no longer need.
It’s also worth becoming a member of your local Freegle or SnaffleUp community group. These sites help people find things they need, when others are giving them away. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the ‘offered’ board though, as school uniform items tend to be snapped up quickly!
Alternatively, think about setting up a school uniform swapping group with other parents at the school. Swansea Council has put together some good advice on how to go about it.
6. Help is available
If you are really struggling to make ends meet, don’t be afraid to ask for help. In England, some local authorities provide discretionary grants to help with the cost of buying school uniform.
This Directgov tool will help you identify the local authority you need to contact.
Top cheap uniform deals out now
- M&S: You can get free UK standard delivery on school uniforms by quoting promotional code 'uniforms' at the checkout before 20 August.
- Morrisons: It’s currently selling all school uniform items - at any size - for just £2.50 each
- Aldi: Current ‘special buys’ include lots of cheap school uniform items. For example, there are trousers for £1.50, two-packs of shirts for £1.99, and plimsolls for £1.49.
- Tesco: Has some great deals on uniform, with cardigans for £3, dresses for £4 and much more.
- In addition, Tesco is currently running a Clubcard promotion which turns every £5 of Clubcard vouchers into a £10 token to spend on school uniform.
- Sainsbury’s: Here full uniforms start from as little as £5 (for a polo shirt, sweatshirt and a skirt or pair of trousers). You can view the latest uniform deals in this PDF brochure (although they’re only available to buy in-store).
- Debenhams: The retailer is currently offering a 20% discount on school uniform, along with free delivery on school uniform orders when you enter the code SHBS at the checkout.
- BHS: There are currently reductions of up to 70% on many schoolwear items. Boys’ deals can be found here, with girls’ offers here.
- Next: And finally - Next is also running a school uniform clearance sale, with many items half their normal price. The boys’ offers are here, and the girls’ deals are here.
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