With kids growing an average of 2.5 inches per year between the ages of 6-12 (and that’s not including growth spurts) most parents have learned that – come September – kids will probably need a new school uniform.
Although supermarkets have driven prices down with their generic ranges, many schools still prefer parents to buy specific items – such as a school fleece, displaying an embroidered badge, or, of course, a tie emblazoned with the school colours.
So how do savvy parents make savings at what can be a pricey time?
Now is the time
Many schools run Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) sales - often in June or July – where parents can pick up good-quality uniform at bargain prices. These are usually seen as a service to parents rather than a money-making exercise, with items sometimes priced as low as 50p. Uniform is often donated by parents, and any proceeds go to the school.
Mix and match
'Nearly-new' sales will involve parents selling their own items on individual stalls. These can be great for picking up cheap uniforms and also an excellent opportunity if you need to off-load a few bundles of last year’s clothes that will be clogging up your drawers.
Those who don’t have time to attend a sale will occasionally display ads on school notice boards or in the weekly newsletter. Keep an eye out for anyone selling the next size up.
It’s also worth checking out second-hand selling sites such as eBay and Preloved.co.uk for local parents selling second-hand uniform. Make sure you search specifically for your child's school, however, or you could be scrolling for hours!
Phone a friend
Chances are, you’ll already know a few parents whose children are in the year above your own. This might be a good time to speak to them about whether they’d like to pass on or sell any outgrown items. Perhaps it’s also worth speaking to friends with younger children to see if they’d be interested in some of your child’s hand-me-downs.
Though going ‘back to school’ may fill your kids with dread, if you look in the right places, it doesn’t have to be the same for your wallet.