Back to school can be expensive
Sending your kids back to school is expensive; new shoes, new uniforms, a new bag, dinners, the list of expenses goes on… and on, and can be really draining on your finances, regardless of whether they’re already stretched or not.
But don’t worry, we’ve put together our top tips to help you save some money on going back to school.
Find a local pass it on scheme
If your kid’s school has a schoolbook or school uniform pass it on scheme, this can be a really useful way to pick up some of the more expensive items your child will need at a fraction of the cost and sometimes even for free.
You could also apply for a school clothing grant from your local council.
Spread the cost
If you make a list of the things your child will need for school and then see if there are any items on it that they will need during the year, but might not need on the first day – a winter coat, for example, you may be able to put off until October – it could help you to spread the cost a little and not need to buy everything all at once.
What’s essential and what’s not?
It’s worth reviewing the things you bought last year and seeing what was actually used and what wasn’t – and seeing if there is anything that doesn’t need replacing and can carry on into this new school year. Doing this can really help you to keep costs down.
Swap with friends
If any of your friends have kids that are a year or two older than yours, then they might have some perfectly good blazers or jumpers that don’t fit their children anymore.
Or, if you and your friends have anything that you got in a 2-for-1 deal that you only need one of, you could swap the spares with them.
You can get great deals on items like lunchboxes, blazers, coats and bags in charity shops and second-hand stores like Revolve. Shopping around like this, rather than buying everything from new can be a really good way to save money and you’ll be doing your bit for charities and the environment as well.
Tag your bag
As we all know, kids aren’t always the best at keeping track of their things. Make sure you put name tags in their uniform and on bags and pencil cases; doing this can help to avoid arguments in school and extra costs for replacing lost items.
You can also avoid the cost of often expensive stamp or iron-on name tags by writing your kids’ names directly on to the labels inside their clothes.
Are you eligible for free school meals?
All kids get free school meals if they’re in a local authority primary school and are in years 1-4. What’s more, from January 2022, kids in year 5 will get free school dinners too.
If your kid is older, then you can find out if they’re eligible for free school dinners here. And, furthermore, you can call Money Talk on 0800 085 7145, for free, to find out if you’re getting all the support you’re entitled to.
Get help with school transport costs
Loads of councils offer free school transport. You can usually get this for your kid if:
- Their school isn’t within walking distance – walking distance is classed as up to 2 miles from home to school if your kid’s under 8 or up to 3 if they’re over 8.
- Your kid has additional support needs, like a disability.
- Your kid has a health issue that stops them from being able to walk to school.
- Your kid can’t attend a school in their catchment area – if their local school is full, for example.
- Your family has a low income.
- There isn’t a safe route for your kid to walk or cycle to school.
You can contact your local authority to find out more about whether or not you’re entitled to free school transport.