25 August 2016 - Blog
Back to school bill – how to cut costs at this expensive time of year

With school summer holidays already costing parents over £600, they are about to be hit with another bill of around £400 to fork out for the new academic year.  The back to school rush is about to hit the high streets this week and some parents have to rely on credit or loans to pay for it all.  And it doesn’t get any cheaper – peer pressure throughout the academic year is estimated to add £865 to the annual household expenditure, according to recent research from Sainsbury’s Bank.

Here are some tips that will help to slash the back to school bill:
Quality supermarket uniforms

Always buy generic items, such as plain trousers, plain shirts and so on from the supermarket, where they will cost you a fraction of the price.  It’s easy to get caught out on this, especially if you’re new to the game and no need to be worried about the quality, as supermarkets have really stepped up their game this year, with many of them guaranteeing quality.

A recent study by a leading supermarket found that four in five parents need to replace uniforms within the same year of purchase and two thirds of school uniforms are replaced within six months so it’s well worth your while buying from the supermarkets.

Buy bigger sizes for later

If you want to save more money later in the year, you can bag some amazing bargains when school starts, as back to school clothing is significantly reduced, with plimsoles going for as little as 50p. You can use this opportunity to buy a couple of sizes up for later on in the year.

As supermarkets usually overstock during the summer holidays, they are keen to shift the stock when the kids go back.  Although don’t risk leaving something to the last minute if it’s a necessity, as you can’t always get the sizes you want when the items are so heavily discounted.

Go second-hand

If your school has a particular uniform requirement, such as blazers with logos, then see if you can get them second-hand. The school may be selling them or if not, then maybe suggest that one is set up for later on in the year.  Facebook school groups can be a good place to check too.   Some councils may provide help with school uniform costs, including PE kit – you can check on gov.uk.
Cheap food

If your child is at infant school, then they will benefit from free school meals, so take advantage, as it means they will get a warm meal and save you money.  After that, you will have to pay for school dinners or provide a packed lunch.  Stock up on offers and take advantage of alternative ways to shop, such as Approved Food for example.  Approved Food sells food at significantly reduced prices, but there is a catch – food is close to or past its sell by date (but perfectly safe).  You could see your food bill cut by as much as 70%, so it’s worth a look, especially as children tend to go through food super fast.  Don’t forget to check out and bag the back to school deals on at supermarkets too.

These are some of the many ways to cut the expense and may help make this an enjoyable time of year for both the parents and the children.
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