Kids need new school supplies? They can cost hundreds of pounds once you’ve included shoes, blazers and sports kits. But don’t fret – there are many ways to save and we’ve rounded them all up for you.
As supermarkets increase their range of basics, including shirts, sportswear and shoes, and pound shops cash in on stationery, calculators and other school supplies, parents can now save money on school kit if they are prepared to shop around. There are other ways to cut the cost of school too…
Do your homework and work out what you need
Check with the school and with other parents exactly what is acceptable. A blazer with the school emblem sewn in could cost much more from an official school stockist than a similar blazer with no emblem. It may then just cost a few pounds to buy the emblem and sew it on yourself.
Some schools are willing to relax their uniform policy slightly to allow parents to buy plain polo shirts or plain blouses, rather than ones with the school logo on them. Check with the school beforehand.
If children require school tracksuits for sport which incorporate a sweatshirt with the school logo on it and a pair of matching tracksuit bottoms, find out how much the top alone would cost and buy the bottoms, if they are a neutral colour, from a cheaper outlet.
Speak to other parents
If you know someone who already has a child at the school, save yourself time and money and ask them what is essential and what isn’t.
Some schools ask parents to buy expensive paints and chalks for art, text books which turn out to be non-essential and other items such as hockey sticks and tennis rackets which the pupil rarely uses.
Find a cheap stockist
Go online to find out which outlets stock school supplies and compare prices.
Check out your local charity shop for sports equipment to save you money – you won’t be the first.
Calculators, maths sets and writing pens don’t need to be expensive. Many pound shops have HB pencils and other reasonable quality items for much less money than you’d pay in a big stationery chain.
Some parents save money by picking up free pens from banks and businesses which they then give to their children.
Get second-hand gear
Buying hand-me-downs is always a good way to save money. Contact the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) to find out when the next sale of second-hand school uniforms is being held. You can buy hardly-worn school supplies at a fraction of the price of new ones, and raise much-needed funds for the school at the same time.
Tell your kids it’s new but you’ve washed it and they may not spot the difference, or failing that explain that vintage is all the rage!
Save money on sundries
Buy pencils and pens in bulk if you have more than one child. A big pack of colouring pencils or pens which you can split between children will set you back less than two individual packs.
If your children are already at school, have a good look around the house to check that you haven’t already got items such as pens, pencils and maths sets which you may have forgotten about.