Children can be expensive and when it comes to school uniform the cost of it can be really high and therefore quite a worry. It is not surprising that many people borrow money to pay for the uniform, especially if their children are starting a new school. However, there are things that you might be able to do which will help with the cost of it.
- Buy second hand – it can be really wise to see whether you can buy any or all of the uniform second hand. The school may have a selection of clothes that they can sell second hand and so it can be worth finding out. If they are starting a new school then it is worth contacting the school to find out. Often the PTA will have a collection of clothing that they sell second hand which you might have the opportunity to look at. There will be limited amounts and sizes though, but it could still be helpful. You may also find that local charity shops may have some uniform which people have donated when their children grew out of it, so this could be a good place to look as well. Local social media selling groups may also have some. If you have a for sale, free and wanted page for your local area you could always post that you are looking for some. Some items will not be logoed such as shoes, trainers and rugby boots and so you may be able to find these available second hand in more places. You will not just have to look locally as if you are prepared to pay postage, you might find them elsewhere.
- Save up – you will normally know well in advance when your child will be changing school. This means that you should have plenty of time to start to save up for the uniform. It will be wise to find out how much it will all cost and then work out how much you will need to put by each month. Remember to allow for all of the extras so bag and pencil case as well as stationery, calculator and books, shoes and socks, sports clothing and bag and any equipment as well as the main uniform and possibly a coat or mac as well. You may have some things already from the last school which will do, but it is always wise to be prepared. They may have a big growth spurt or come home after a few days to announce they need extra stationery, money for school trips or extra PE equipment such as gum shields and shin pads. Therefore, saving extra money can be extremely useful. They will need uniform replacing from time to time anyway as they grow. It will normally not be so expensive as they will not need everything replaced at once, but having some spare money to pay for this can be very handy.
- Find a sale/reduction – it might be possible to get some items at a reduced price. This is more likely to be the case with items such as shoes, bags and equipment rather than the school uniform itself. However, stay abreast of what is going on with regards to prices of the uniform. If there is one, get on the mailing list for your uniform supply shop and ask them to inform you if there are any reductions.
- Borrow – borrowing is an option if you need to take it. Although it might not be a favourable one, it is a possible solution to being able to afford the uniform that you need. It is worth looking at all of your borrowing options and comparing them. You will find that the costs will vary a lot as well as the repayment terms. It is important to make sure that you borrow at a cost that you feel is worthwhile and that has repayments that you can afford.
It is worth noting that there are hardship funds to help pay for uniform for those parents that are really struggling financially. If you are on benefits then it could be worth asking the school about it as they may know how you apply for uniform vouchers. Most people will not be eligible for these those so they will have to find other ways to manage. Buying just a minimum amount of uniform can help, so just one set of uniform with perhaps a few tops to swap while you wash some could be the way to go. Make sure the child changes as soon as they get home from school and then it is likely that you will not need to wash it and you can buy less. Another way to save a bit of money is to buy them school shoes and get them to wear them all of the time so they do not have a pair of trainers or any other shoes to wear at home as well. This will save you buying so many pairs of shoes. You can do the same with socks and a coat too.