Having more than one growing child to buy a school uniform for over the summer can be a financial nightmare.
According to government figures, the average cost of a school uniform for the academic year of 2014/2015 was £212.88. If you have multiple children to get ready to return to school in September, buying uniforms can become incredibly expensive, incredibly quickly. This is especially the case if you buy everything they need to go back to school in one go.
However, regardless of whether your children are going to public school or off to boarding school, there are ways to lessen the financial impact of buying multiple uniforms.
Spread the cost
It’s a good idea not to buy all items of a uniform all at once. Shoes, polo shirts, jumpers, trousers and skirts, and PE kits; they all add up. Buying everything in one go can be a massive outlay, especially if you have to buy for multiple children.
Instead, spread the cost over a few months by buying a few items at a time. Jumpers one month, shoes the next, for example. If you’re worried that whatever you buy might not fit your children by the time September rolls around, put the money you would have spent aside to give you a ‘uniform fund.’ This can cover the cost of one large shop.
This fund can be an on-going part of your monthly budgeting, in which you put aside a small amount each month during the year to cover the costs of uniforms. This way you know you have that financial cushion ready for when a child starts school, or when they need to replace a uniform that no longer fits.
Buy only what they need
Lots of schools provide a list of what they recommend each child needs for their uniform. Sometimes these lists are quantified. Try sticking to that as a guide of what you should buy. If the list suggests buying a specific number of an item of clothing (like two jumpers, for example) stick to the amount they recommend, especially as the recommendation is per pupil. It’s worth remembering, if you have multiple children, you will need to buy multiples of that recommended amount.
Also, look at what can be carried over from one year to the next. Consider school shoes and coats, if they still fit and are in good condition, as well as back packs and lunch boxes. These could all be completely functional, meaning you save money by not needing to replace them.
Like with most budgeting, it’s worth planning ahead and working out what the best method of saving money will be for you. Building up a financial buffer each month means that you have the cash to hand when the inevitable back to school sales start. If you see a bargain when you’re out shopping, such as multipacks of a polo shirt you need, then it’s always worth grabbing it. This can also help you save time and avoid a rush further down the line.