How to save on back to school shopping is a paid collaborative post in conjunction with My Voucher Codes. I would love to think that I am an organised Mum but half the time I am a fly-by the seat of my pants mum, however, when it comes to saving money I am on it! Raising children is expensive and any penny I can save means that I can spend it somewhere else, preferably on something fun.
One of our biggest expenses on an annual basis is the dreaded back-to-school shop. I would love to say that as the boys’ have got older it has got less expensive but alas it wouldn’t be true. What has happened is I am the boss of shopping effectively and efficiently to get the most for my money. Both of the boys’ are now in adult-sized shoes (which you pay VAT on). They also have very clear ideas about what they do and don’t like. Like me they both adore stationery and My Voucher codes have some great discounts from Paperchase, WHSmith, Ryman, The Works and PC World.
So after over ten years of back to school shopping, I am something of an expert on getting the best value school stuff from a number of shops. I thought I would share with you my top tips.
Brilliant Back to School Money-Saving Tips
Part of the reason I seem organised is that I have a set order for back to school shopping. And guess what? I am willing to let you into my secrets.
First up – Sell it on. Whatever this looks like for you – I have done car boot sales and sold on Vinted, eBay and Facebook marketplace. Sell what you no longer need or use to add to the pot for the coming year. When kids are small they grow so fast, that often my children would outgrow shoes rather than wear them out. So it makes sense to get the most out of these items and if there are in a good condition with plenty of wear left then sell them.
Make a list and stick to it. Knowing what I need for the boys makes shopping so much easier and also stops me from buying things that they do not need.
Shop what you have. Once I know what I need then I shop the boys’ wardrobes. I pass down anything that I can and see what will last another year. There is no point in buying things if they do not need them.
Second Hand is not second best. Does your school have a second-hand uniform sale? Children grow like weeds so often second-hand uniforms can be in really good condition and you can pick them up for a great price. Also, don’t be afraid to ask friends who have older children if they have any you can buy from them.
Check out all savings. Once I know what I need I make sure I check online for back to school voucher codes. This takes a couple of minutes and can save so much.
Buy generic and get embroidered. I have always found that it is much cheaper to buy an unbranded generic or personalised school uniform (without the school badge) and then use a local embroiderer to do it rather than buying it directly for the school, especially in primary school. However, this year the boys’ senior school had a great deal on prebadged blazers.
Stamp it rather than label – Sometimes time is money and I have always found sewing in labels really time-consuming. I have never had much success with iron-on labels either, but a permanent stamp works really well for me. I just use our surname (perfect when handing it down in a family) and it really lasts, we have things that have been stamped 5 years ago and passed on that still have the name stamp in them.
Cost versus value – It’s about finding the right balance between the two. Sometimes longevity is as important as saving money – that way you’ll reduce your costs in the long run. Look at things in a cost-per-wear way. Often less expensive items might not last the whole year.
Stock up throughout the year – I often find late September and early October a brilliant time to get some bargains, especially with stationery and school stuff as they will be on sale. I get the boys’ stationery for the year and pop it in my cupboard and shop what I have. I get them extra gloves at the end of winter and often get their next years school coat in the sales. I just need to make sure that I do not forget I have them! I find that shops like TKMaxx a fab place for buying out of season items.
Sometimes it is the little things that really add up and I remember my Mum telling me to make sure that I stuck to one style and colour of socks and then with the same socks to select from, even the odd socks will eventually end up as a pair!
Both of my boys’ overheat when wearing school jumpers so for most of the primary school years they wore a zip-up fleece from picked up from Sports Direct school colours with the school logo embroidered on. It washed and dried so fast that they only needed one and it doubled up as a lightweight coat too, so a double saving.
If you have girls then Next is the place for stylish shorts and cullotes which work for maximum comfort, modesty and durability. Plus they can be worn during the summer with socks and all winter with tights.
I used to advocate buying things as early as possible, however, both boy’s underwent a growth spurt which left the clothes (and shoes) too small!
I would love to know your back to school money-saving tips as I am always up for saving money. Please do share them in the comments.