You’re enjoying a long summer with the family, but it will soon be time to pack the little ones back off to school. Whether they are off to a new school or have had a growth spurt, this is likely to mean a new school uniform.

While the cost of buying new uniforms can be high, there are things you can do to keep costs as low as possible.

Shop around

Many supermarkets and clothing stores sell school uniform now. It's usually a lot cheaper than buying direct from the school or specialist suppliers. You can find a list of current prices from different shops on Money Saving Expert.

Do check with the school first to see if any items are compulsory. You may need to buy uniform with the school badge direct. It may cost a bit more, but the quality is usually good.

Size matters

Children seem to grow out of their school uniforms fast. When you’re trying new school uniforms on them, ask them to try a bigger size. It may not look too big and might save you buying more new clothing in a few months’ time.

Buy second hand

Look out for second hand stalls at parents evening or open days. Someone else may be getting rid of a school uniform which is too small but still has plenty of wear left in it.

It also worth looking at local selling groups on Facebook. You might get a bargain from other parents looking to declutter outgrown uniforms.

Make do and mend

School trousers too short? You don’t need to be a sewing expert to unpick the hem and let it down a bit. This guide on Love Your Clothes explains how. You can also cut trousers down into school shorts ready for next summer if they still fit around the waist.

Step to it

School shoes can be one of the most expensive items. If last years’ shoes still fit, why not wait and go shopping a couple of weeks into term time? There will usually be seasonal sales on and you may be able to pick up a bargain.

Plan ahead

If you can, start setting a small amount of money aside each month towards next years’ school uniform. You’ll thank yourself next summer when you have the money to buy your child’s uniform without putting a big dent in your monthly budget.

Save even more

Depending on your personal circumstances, your child may be eligible for free school meals. You can apply through your local authority. There’s more information on

Some children are also able to get free transport to school. They usually need to attend the nearest suitable school and have a journey of two miles or more. You can find out how to apply on


If schools are strict and insist on costly kit, a small loan from Places for People Financial Services could help you to spread the cost. We look at applications on an individual basis, taking into account your personal circumstances. We'll consider you even if you have a less than perfect credit history.

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