A group of school children wearing uniforms walk through the corridor. They look happy and excited. This is a school in Hexham, Northumberland in north eastern England.
|Buying new uniforms and other school essentials can add up quickly. As the cost of living rises, it’s important to have a plan to cut costs as much as possible before the new term begins.|
Lloyds Bank reports that parents spend around £183.30 per child on back-to-school preparations, an amount that many households struggle to pay. Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce these costs.
Here are 12 ways to reduce back-to-school costs:
Buying used school uniforms saves money. From September, new guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) means that schools must make second hand uniforms available to parents. Your child’s school may have a second hand uniform sale, or you can search Facebook Marketplace or eBay instead.
Parents can also choose to swap outgrown uniforms at a swap party with other parents who wish to do the same. Make contact with other parents from the school to arrange this.
DfE advises schools to limit branded uniforms and encourages parents to buy cheaper supermarket alternatives. DfE research shows that parents can save almost £50 on average if they can buy all their school uniform items from any store, rather than from designated school shops.
If your child is starting at a new school, check with other parents about logo-free clothing. Polo shirts and cardigans without the school crest can be bought at supermarkets and department stores. The school website may say that their crests and logos are essential, but that’s not always the case.
Do an online search to check for discount codes and stock up on sale items. Doing so throughout the year reduces costs. Ryman offers certain school stationery essentials at better than half price and Matalan offers 15% off all orders over £40 with the code SAVE1540 and free standard delivery. The code may change, so please Google search for “Discount codes”.
If you shop smart, you can often find cheap books for school. AbeBooks, Amazon, Music Magpie and World of Books all have great deals. Check with your local library as well, or the Z-Library for free online books.
When you shop online, check cashback websites for deals like the examples below.
5.5% cashback on refurbished Dell laptops
WHSmith: 8.8% cashback
We recommend buying refurbished devices for older children who need laptops or teens who may need new phones. It’s a greener, cheaper option.
If you wish to buy new, we suggest you wait for Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday to save a little more money.
Consider whether your children really need new items before you buy them. Every school year brings new backpacks, pencil cases and other items. Don’t buy things just because your children want them. Also, try to avoid buying expensive accessories that may be trendy now but won’t be in a few months’ time. Buy durable, non-fashionable items.
If you receive certain benefits, your child may qualify for free school meals, which could save you money. In England, children in Year 1 or Year 2 of their school term are entitled to free school meals, regardless of household income.
Packing lunches could save you money if you don’t qualify for free school meals, especially if your child is a picky eater. Financial analyst Jeremy Helm calculated that a canteen lunch can cost £4.50 so you can save this money by providing a packed lunch for your child. You can also save money by substituting big brands for supermarket brands. Pack your child’s lunch according to what they enjoy and make it as nutritious as you can.
The school uniform grant can help low income families pay for uniforms and PE kits. In Wales, families are offered a one-time top-up payment of £100 for 2022/23, which means that some parents can claim £300.
Where you live will determine how much you can receive, when you must apply and which children qualify. Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all offer school uniform grants, but only some in England do. School uniform grants are usually available to those who qualify for free school meals. Check the gov.uk website which tells you if your local council offers help. If not, contact your child’s school to discuss any financial aid that they offer.
Child Benefit is one of many benefits that parents can claim. You can receive this benefit if you’re responsible for raising a child under the age of 16 or one who is under 20 and is in approved education or training.
The benefit is paid monthly and it amounts to £21.80 per week. Only one person can claim Child Benefit for each child. You will also receive £14.45 per additional child. You and your partner must have an annual income of £50,000 or less in order to qualify.
Child tax credits, guardian’s allowance, widowed partner’s allowance and child disability living allowance are also available.
Finally, label your child’s clothes and other items. This will help you avoid replacing lost items. Taking care of your belongings and labelling them properly can save you money.
Please contact our Tenancy Sustainment Officers by calling 01372 814 000 or by emailing email@example.com if you are struggling through this period.