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5 min read

Back to School Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

From school uniforms to packed lunches, the kids going back to school can be an expensive time. We’ve rounded up some ideas to help you save money.

Two kids with school equipment - back to school doesn't have to break the bank

School uniforms for less

Buying a brand new school uniform can set you back between £250 and £350 pounds per year, as children grow so much during their school years. But buying new is not the only option. Head over to your local second hand shop, look at online marketplaces, or just strike up a conversation with a neighbour who’s child has (inevitably) outgrown their old uniform. Unless the old uniform is in tatters or badly stained, it’s a perfectly acceptable alternate option to buying brand new uniforms. Just make sure you do the same as soon as your own child outgrows their uniforms at the end of their school year.

If your child is picky about wearing somebody else’s clothes or you cannot find a used uniform that doesn’t look like it’s been run through the mill, there are other options for you. Visit your local supermarket for great deals on uniform pants and plain white dress shirts. Phone up the school your child attends and ask for alternate shops to purchase skirts, ties and jumpers. There’s a very high probability you won’t be the only parent calling.

Books and revision guides

They’re only made of paper and yet books and revision guides are a huge expense when it comes to education. Luckily, there are many options to buy these lightly used so as not to break the bank come September. If you have more than one child you can use revision guides more than once. Writing on them in pencil (easily erasable), writing on sticky notes and sticking them in the books, even photocopying important pages are all options you can do as a parent to save money on these very expensive books.

For those parents who do not have old revision books lying around their home, call the school and ask the subject teacher or lead for extra copies. Students are notorious for leaving supplies (including books) behind at the end of the school year. Teachers collect these up for “extras” in the new school year. One teacher is bound to have a lightly used copy for your child.

Look online or in a used book shop. While some people may not like the look of a used book or revision guide, others love it. They are filled with notes that can really help studying and lead your child to think about the text in a different way. Plus, it’s much cheaper than buying new.

Breakfast and lunch

Everyone knows that the most important meal of the day is breakfast. But it can also cost a lot of money. Buying in bulk is always a very good idea to ease the cost of food, so shop around your local supermarkets to see which cereals and fruits are on sale that week. One box of cereal can last several weeks, so it’s a small expense with a big effect: focus in school and energy to participate.

Also take the time to ask the school about programs running that help students get the food they need throughout the day. Sometimes students are required to volunteer, sometimes it’s aid the school provides when times are tough for parents. There are always options so your child can eat throughout the day.

Further reading