Sudden growth spurts, messy DIY projects and muddy playground games are just some of the reasons why kids end up wearing-out their school uniforms in record-breaking time. It’s to be expected of course, but strict uniform rules and restrictions can sometimes cause real financial difficulties for parents.
Recently at Banana Moon, we conducted a survey to uncover the impact school uniform costs are having on families across the UK. With over 1,000 respondents taking part, we discovered almost a third of parents have had to seek financial help over the cost of their child’s school uniform, and just over half – 58% to be exact – believe there’s not enough help available for parents who do require assistance.
A further 65% think there’s too much pressure on parents to purchase uniforms from official retailers too, preventing parents from finding cheaper alternatives. Take a look at our top money-saving tips below, created specifically to help parents across the UK cut down on their school uniform bill.
Spread the costs
Purchasing a brand new uniform in one go can quickly put you out of pocket, and spreading the cost across the year can help reduce the strain on your wallet. If your child isn’t attending a brand new school, assess their current uniform and find out what items need replacing immediately. Purchase those first, and wait until the time is right to buy other items, like a winter coat or a thicker jumper for example.
It’s important to only buy the essentials too. Your child doesn’t need a new shirt for every single day of the week, so make sure they only have two to three shirts and jumpers etc. as a maximum. It’s very easy to waste money during growth spurts, and committing to regularly washing school uniform instead can easily keep costs down. Keep an older shirt, jumper and pair of trousers as a backup too, just in case of emergencies.
Items can easily get lost at school, with children often misplacing coats and jumpers when the weather begins to warm up. There’s no way for you to prevent loss, but adding labels to everything can prevent your child’s clothing from being placed in lost property for the rest of the year. Labels also make it easier for other parents to recognise if their child has accidentally taken an item home that isn’t theirs.
Swap with other parents
Many parents often pass down school uniform to younger siblings, so why not do the same and swap with other parents too?
Get to know other parents at your child’s school and consider asking if they have any unwanted uniform items they wouldn’t mind passing on to your child. You could even introduce a recycling scheme for uniform in your school if they allow it, or start a group on Facebook to help parents easily exchange items.
Find local authority grants
Select councils across the UK can offer parents help with their school uniform costs. To find out if any local grants are available in your area, simply click this link to be directed to the official government’s website and type in your postcode. Some areas are unable to provide any financial help, but those that do tend to be offered to children who also receive free school meals.
Seek out cheaper alternatives
Standard items such as plain white shirts or black trousers can be bought on a budget from supermarkets or a range of online retailers – there’s really no need to go to the school’s uniform shop and pay premium prices.
Trousers and boy’s shirts came out on top in our survey as the items that parents had to replace the most during one academic year, so seeking a cheaper alternative can really help cut down costs!
If items like polo shirts and jumpers must feature an embroidered school logo, parents can seek out cheaper alternatives from personalised clothing specialists like Banana Moon if their school is willing to provide a copy of the required logo.
School uniform can be expensive, but our top tips can help you to save a few pounds when it comes to replacing your child’s clothing for the new academic year. Don’t forget to take a look at our budget-friendly school wear online – we use a selection of some of the very best brands to offer great quality at low prices!