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Teenage schoolchildren

Back to school time? Be well schooled in cutting costs

From uniforms to text books, having children at school does not come cheap. With research showing costs can easily run into the hundreds, how can you help keep them low as the new term date creeps closer?

In fact, the cost of kitting out your children is a staggering £400, according to online retailer LaptopsDirect.

This is an amount most may baulk at. But are there ways you can cut this? We asked colleagues of ours who are parents for their top ways to save money on your sprogs.

How do you cut the costs of going back to school?

Paul Taylor and his five year old

‘Buy uniforms a bit larger than you think you need. Children grow very quickly and you can always take up the hems of trousers and bring them down again when they have a spurt.  We buy shoes half a size larger too.’

Avril Lalani and her 18 year old and 15 year old

‘When it comes to GCSEs and A-Levels, the text books can be very expensive – some of them are between £50-60. But we go on eBay - you can often get them for only a few quid from older children who have no use for them anymore.’

Mo Raja and his eight year old and seven year old

‘We give our children packed lunches to take to school. We also give them water bottles with diluted juice – cheaper than buying juice out, and healthier too. Another good tip is to walk with them to school rather than take the car. Kids love skating too, so they could skate to school while you walk with them.  Although parents have to get up early enough to walk too!’

Stephaney Adjei, two children, aged seven and four

‘You don’t necessarily have to get uniforms from uniform shops. We get our daughters’ uniforms from the supermarket and shoes from outlet stores – still good quality, and a lot cheaper.’

Caroline Laws, three children, aged 11, 14 and 17

'As my children have got older, tech has become more important, for homework assignments for example. To keep costs low, we buy reconditioned or second hand laptops.’

Here are some more ideas from parents. Is there anything you could do differently?

Need to find money fast?

If there are expenses you need to cover, don’t panic. Are there any subscriptions you could cancel, or items you could sell online you have hanging around your house?

Sometimes a closer look at your outgoings can help show you areas you could cut back too.

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