Back to School

School uniforms, school bags, school shoes, labels, going back to school can be expensive!

Parents spend on average over £316 per child a year (£215 for primary age kids)!

BUT we've found the BEST BARGAINS AND what you need to know if you claim benefits to help cut the cost of going back to school

 

Need to know

  • There is no shame in keeping it cheap when buying back to school gear, as it gets trashed, lost or grown out of in no time. However, speak to other parents about their experience as you do want to get more than half a term out of it!
  • Supermarkets should be your first stop for basics, you generally won't find plain pieces of uniform and childrens' stationery cheaper. Plus you can build up your loyalty points as you buy, ready to spend at Christmas
  • Tesco have made changes to the Tesco Clubcard Boost scheme so that you can get more value out of Clubcard all year round. Watch this space to discover more details on how Tesco plan on helping you make the most of the scheme.
  • Your school should have a second hand shop- if they don't speak to the PTA about starting one to save you and your fellow parents LOADS. Parents also use Preloved and eBay to sell on bundles of uniform, definitely worth a look, but the supermarkets still rule for basics 
  • Your school will have a uniform list, make sure you check for requirements (length of skirt, type of shoes etc) and where will provide clothing with your school's logo - this is normally M&S or John Lewis, but Tesco also now offer an embroidery service for certain uniforms
  • Children's feet grow on average a full size every 8 months. You can figure out the size at home by measuring and then converting from millimeters to shoe size on the Clark's website. Bargain shoes can be found at supermarkets, on discount shoe sites like Shoes for Kids and on Secret Sales Sites- we got a £30 pair of school shoes for just £8 on Zulily
  • You can save on packed lunches by buying ingredients in bulk, filling fun flasks with juice instead of wasting money on cartons and using re-usable plastic tubs instead of clingfilm and zip lock bags. For more ways to save on groceries check out our guide
  • Cut the cost of the school run by walking, cycling or orgainising liftshares (checkout site liftshare.com). If you have to drive cut the cost of your petrol by using website petrolprices.com and pay with the Santander 123 Cashback Credit Card to earn back 3% on your petrol spending
  • You can find discount vouchers online by Googling 'back to school discount 2016', 'School shoes discount 2016' or similar. Loads of places will be offering vouchers- make sure you do a quick price check before using them to guarantee you are getting the BEST PRICE
  • Sign up to a cashback site like Topcashback or Quidco and try and earn money back on your purchases. They usually have a GREAT back to school section with exclusive deals and special bonus cashback deals too.  On offer at the moment you will get 2.1% cashback at tesco F&F, 8.4% at staples, 10.5% on mynametags and 6.3% at Clarks
  • Everything that CAN get lost WILL get lost. Buying name tags means you (hopefully) won't have to buy things more than once.
 

Price Check on the Uniform Aisle....

 

Polo Shirt age 4-5

Black leather boys shoes

Comment

M&S

£5 for 2

£18-22

Lots of choice and good value

F&F (TESCO)

£2.50 for 2

£10

Consistently cheap and Clubcard boost is exceptional value!

George   (Asda)

£2.50 for   2

£10

A close second!

TU (in   store Sainsbury’s)

£3.50 for   3

£15

Some items are in store only

Next

£6 for 2

£18-26

 More expensive but good quality

John Lewis

£3 for 2

£26

Good choice of shoes

Matalan

£3 for 2

£10

 Lots of good deals, especially on shoes

 

Prices correct as of 02/08/2016

 

Help with School costs

In England and Wales your child may be able to get free school meals and help with the cost of uniform.

Your local council controls these funds, so checkout their website (find them here) and search 'free school meals' and 'help with the cost of school uniform' to see what you could claim

You may be eligible if you claim any of the following:

  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseekers Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Support under Part VI of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • The guaranteed element of State Pension Credit
  • Child Tax Credit 
  • Working Tax Credit run-on - paid for 4 weeks after you stop qualifying for Working Tax Credit
  • Universal Credit

Northern Ireland offers free school lunches and clothing grants if you claim the above

Scotland also offers free school lunches and clothing grants, controlled by the local councils, find yours here

 

School Uniform

Sainsbury's TU range and Nutmeg available at Morrisons are very similar to Florence and Fred and George but are only available to buy in store

F&F


Why we like it:

  • by Tesco
  • very cheap basics
  • school wear from £2
  • earn Clubcard points
  • embroidery for some schools available
  • free click and collect

Watch out:

  • not all schools logos available
  • embroidery can take up to 14 days

George


Why we like it:

  • by ASDA
  • school wear from £2
  • collect in store for free

Watch out:

  • no school logos available

M&S


Why we like it:

  • great quality and still reasonably priced
  • search by school to see if they have your school's logo
  • free next day delivery to stores
  • crease and stain proof

Watch out:

  • slightly more expensive than the supermarkets (generally an extra £1 or 2)
  • school specific uniform only delivered to home- standard delivery £2.50 (5 days)

Other School gear

Amazon


Why we like it:

  • Everything is Prime eligible
  • Mix and match exactly what stationary you need
  • Ideal for sixth form and uni students
  • Plenty of choice throughout the whole Amazon website

Watch out:

  • Might find cheaper non-Prime eligible stationary elsewhere

Tesco


Why we like it:

  • free click and collect
  • Disney school bags from £5
  • great value stationary sets

Watch out:

  • more stationary available instore than online

The inside track

  • Make sure you are claiming the benefits you are entitled to including: child benefit, chidcare vouchers or tax credits
  • Your child will be eligible for free travel to school if you live over 'walking distance'  (two miles under the age of 8, three miles over the age of 8) and there is no closer school. Check if a school bus route runs near you, if there isn't one your local council may be able to provide financial aid
  • Take it away is the Arts Council Programme that offers interest free loans to cover the cost of getting your child (or yourself if you're under 25) a musical instrument
  • We love WH Smith BUT there are often cheaper places to buy your books. The cheapest Collins English Dictionary we found was from The Works for just 99p!  I bought all of the Biff and Chip reading books from thebookpeople.com last year at 90% off!
 
 

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