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Back to school cheaper than ever (& how to make the most of it)

How to save money buying school uniform

Are school uniforms value for money?

As if children aren’t expensive enough we have to buy school uniforms and all that other stuff! However, I am a fan of school uniforms for a variety of reasons, but it wasn’t too many years ago that it would nearly break the bank to send kids back to school. Prices of many items come down in the last few years. One assumes that it is because of more competition. With more supermarkets, more outlets and more online opportunities, stores are having to be more competitive with inevitable reduction in prices. Good. But could it also be that with their mass purchasing power that they are getting stock cheaper than others and even using as a loss leader. I fear most of us parents don’t care!

Are these items good value for money though? I think so. I have bought school uniforms from supermarkets for the last 5 years and they all last as long as each other. Although you do have to be careful that you are comparing like with like though. For example, one pair of school trousers may be cheaper than another but does the more expensive pair have reinforced knees? I have found from experience that one pair of trousers will be cheaper than the inevitable two….!

What do the supermarkets say about school uniforms?

Sainsbury’s

A spokesperson for Sainsbury’s said “We have longstanding relationships with our school uniform suppliers. This allows us to offer choice, quality and value at scale during the busy back to school period and beyond.”

 

Mossisons

A spokesperson for Morrisons said “We offer a 200 day no-quibble guarantee on our children’s clothing. We’re so confident with the entire range that if a customer is not happy with ANY Nutmeg children’s item, for any reason, they can return it up to 200 days after they bought it with proof of purchase.” That is well over your statutory consumer rights too!

 

Are school shoes value for money?

There’s an interesting one. Clarks and Start-rite appear to have the monopoly on parental guilt when it comes to shoes. They certainly don’t last as long as any other supermarket shoe, we aren’t paying for durability! But they do provide us with a width fitting and it is easier to get the half size fitting. However there is little evidence on whether they are better or not for growing feet, who knows? Anything from £30 – £50 for Clarks’ school shoes instead of a supermarket shoe for a quarter of the price? Difficult one and a personal choice but we can at least compromises and buy the less worn P.E. footwear from supermarkets.

A spokesperson for Clarks said “Our price points are based on the high quality, premium materials and manufacturing processes that are used in the creation of our footwear. All of our footwear is also subject to a large number of tests designed to ensure comfort, safety and durability.” I’d like to see the results of the durability tests!!

The rest of the school kit value for money?

When it comes to kit, such as pencil cases and backpacks etc. are they really that different from others. We are only paying for the picture not the quality on there aren’t we? Who is going to know where we bought it and does it matter where most parents are trying to save money on school essentials?

Some tips for back to school shopping:

1) Check the quality of the item before you buy. Give the uniform a pull and a stretch see if any stitching will come undone when worn once!
2) Buy early, try one item and give it a wash before buying others to check how they will last from regular washing.
3) Shop around, use comparison websites for absolutely anything!
4) Buy at the end of term too. Some supermarkets have discounts then and at certain times of the year. And buy ahead as you know those kids will grow! I pointed out to Tesco CEOs when I interviewed them last year that kids don’t grow to term times and we need uniform around the year but I don’t know if anyone is listening!
5) Remember that it doesn’t matter how cheap the items are, you are still covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015. You are entitled to goods that are of satisfactory quality and that last a reasonable length of time. If they don’t meet this, then take them back with your proof of purchase and gain a refund or replacement (or repair!)

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ways to save money

24 top finance blogs (saving, making, invest 7 more

Although this blog is about consumer rights and how not to get fobbed off, I thought it might be useful to share some good money blogs with you. If you are interested in knowing your rights you may also be interested in finding out about ways to save and make money on a variety of things from holidays to personal finance, food to energy saving and selling stuff! There are of course thousands of blogs out there run by people keen to share their ideas and sometimes you may stumble across them and some that are equally as good that you don’t. So I’ll list some for you all in one place so that if you fancy putting your feet up with a cuppa or glass of wine, here are some good ones to start you off. If you find any of them useful or you’d like them to cover a financial issue that fits with their blog then please do mention it in a comment on their (not mine!) blog.

I have tried to provide a varied list to give lots of choice of what’s out there, so that each one I’m showing you, is for the most part, quite different to another.

Be Clever With Your Cash is a blog about helping you do the same. It picked up Best Personal Finance Blog at this year’s Headlinemoney awards. (I was nominated I’ll have you know, but my blog is pretty niche! “I only do complaining” I often say!) Run by Andy Webb covers all sorts of great stuff.

Skint Dad fed up of being skint and struggling to make ends meet; in 2013 husband and wife team Ricky and Naomi Willis launched the blog to help other people in the same boat. Whether you’re looking to cut back on your food bill, save for a rainy day, or find inventive ways to up your income; Skint Dad has the answer. Masses on here (even a guest post from yours truly hidden away. They won Headline Money award last year and various awards in the UK Money blogger of the year awards.

LottyEarns Charlotte Burns is the current UKMB Blogger of the year,  and her blog focuses on luxury on a budget. It can be done and Charlotte provides many a tip on how.

Debt Camel Sara blogs about everything to do with debt and credit ratings. An important aspect of that is better budgeting, aiming for a small emergency fund and reducing your borrowing costs and expenses wherever possible. Sara also write a guest post on my blog Everything you need to know about Payday loans so you know she must be good!

Your Money Sorted Eileen’s blog helps UK based women to make the most of their money. through helping them to improve their money mindset. She’s got some interesting freebie guides on tips and mindset too! I’m just signing up for a couple.

Reduced Grub shows people that you don’t need a huge budget to eat decent food. Lots of ideas for cheap tasty meals by Kelly here.

Mrs Mummypenny Lynn blogs about healthy wealth, body and mind. A personal journey with lots of tips etc. you may take some inspiration.

Katy Kicker Katy blogs about money saving as a parent, allotment owner and person committed to random acts of kindness. Find money saving advice on a whole host of subjects.

Savvy in Somerset Fiona writes mostly about money saving but other personal finance bits. And she comes from Somerset too! (All the best people do 😉 Oh and Fiona? 8 tests I took. 8!

Money Saver Moneymaker Jenny writes a blog that encourages women to make money from home. the blog has a focus on turning hobbies into business. Like me, she’s not able to resist a bargain and she shares her money saving finds which leave you with more money all round to spend.

The Diary of a Frugal Family is all about Cass and her family’s journey to living a more frugal lifestyle having as much fun as possible along the way. You’ll find everything from money to meal planning and from Teen DIYs to Travel posts and you’ll find a free budget planner.

From Pennies to Pounds.  Francesca writes about how to save  and earn money from home to pay off debt and achieve your financial goals. Different to the many similar bloggers Francesca is newly married with a daughter. She is also at uni so may appeal to students out there!

The Frugal Cottage. Nicola blogs about budgeting, money saving and early retirement and won the People’s Choice Award last year at the SHOMOs.

Money Tree Man with the help of his Money Tree girlfriend writes a blog about saving money to achieve financial independence. He’s starting with buying a house! Investments etc. Whilst that may be a little different to other blogs which talk about tips, saving money etc. etc., anyone that writes “Rants and bants”, “A quick google can be the difference investment ingenuity of fiscal fucktardedry!” and “Little bitch syndrome” has got to be worth a peruse.

Much More With Less Faith is a personal finance journalist who writes about moving to the country, living on less and making the most of it. Posts focus on food, finance, family, flowers and fitness, all with a frugal spin.

Pounds and Sense Nick blogs about making money, saving money and investing money, aimed especially (though not exclusively) at over sixties

A few more on saving and making money: Time and Pence, Money Saving Girl, Emma Drew,   Thrifty Mum,  I Beat Debt  and Homely Economics

Not really a blog but is a site that supplies links to individual bargain items Latest Deals UK

 

Helen Dewdney expert in her field logos of TV and radio

And if you’ve come here via someone tweeting this page – you can find out About Me and you can GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! for tips, information advice, guidance, consumer rights/laws and template letters and you can find that all over the blog as well.