How to survive back-to-school shopping

If you are like millions of other time-starved mums who have just realised that we are in the third week of August and the back-to-school shopping queues are getting longer, hold tight! These tips will make sure you beat the August queues, save money or just get a heads up for next term.

1. Start with a plan

The worst case scenario when doing school uniform shopping is to just hit the shops without looking at what your child needs. Instead, create a master back-to-school shopping list and budget for each of your children. Discuss the list with your child, if they are old enough, as there may be some items they need that you might not think about (it happens!). Let them help make the budget trade-offs. For example, if they want an expensive pair of shoes, then agree to spend less money on their rucksack or clothes. 

2. Clean out the closet 

Before you start shopping for new school uniform, clean out the closet. Sort through the clothes with each of your children, setting aside items that still fit and giving the rest away to charity. If you can hand any down to younger children, then do – you’ll save some money along the way. If you know other children in the school who could benefit, then so long as the uniform is in good nick, offer them to that child or the school shop.

3. Snag a deal

Unless you’re part of the super rich, you’ll be working within a budget when buying new school uniform. Share this amount with your child so they don’t feel as though they can go on a school shopping frenzy. This will help them to learnt about the value of money and how to stretch the budget as far as possible by making smart choices. 

Use the Internet to compare prices in different stores before you leave home, so you know who is charging what for each item of uniform. This will save you time, money and sweat.

4. Know when to use the school shop and when not to

When your child’s school gives you a uniform list, there will be some generic items on there that cost a lot more from the school shop. You don’t actually always need to buy these items from the school shop – white shirts are white shirts wherever you buy them from, for example, unless they have a special collar. You could buy double or more of that item of uniform from the supermarkets or online, so shop smart.

5. School shoes

These along with blazers are probably the most expensive item on the school uniform list. Go ahead and get your child’s feet measured on the high street to make sure you get the right size, then shop online for the best deal you can get.

Written by Joycellyn Akuffo

Founder and editor of www.motherswhowork.co.uk, a mother of two wonderful children, wife, entrepreneur (check out www.geekschool.co.uk) and journalist.

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