It’s fast approaching! My second child will also start school in September. Where have the past nearly 5 years flown? I am now making lists of what we need for the start of school, about buying school uniforms and other bits of kit.
Last week, before leaving on holiday, I did a quick tidy up and sorting of the childrens’ clothes. (That was my excuse for procrastinating before setting off on our trip). I was saddened that Hugo will hardly use a lot of his nice clothes as he will be in uniform from next month.
On the other hand I wouldn’t have it any other way: I love that they wear uniforms, that there is no competition on brands and logo on poloshirts, that there is no debate as to what they wear in the rush of the mornings.
Now comes the next challenge: getting all his gear together so it doesn’t break the bank.
I’ve found three strategies for sparing my bank account from the sudden shock:
1, We looked at the second-hand uniform stock at school, (since there is not much Angelina can pass to her brother.)
Judge me if you like, but I see no shame in second hand items. It appeals to my green, recylcing nature as much as to my wallet.
However, while buying second-hand was quite fruitful for getting Angelina some nice nearly new dresses, nice boys’ uniforms are not that readily available. Maybe the uniforms are just not up to the battering they get from these 4-5 year olds?
2, I have kept an eye out for sales over the past months at the stores around us. It’s definitely worth shopping around both for quality and price.
Supermarkets have got onto the uniform sale bandwagon and have some really great prices. In the past I have got some really nice pieces from Sainsbury’s and from Matalan. Both have stood up well to Angelina’s neglectful use.
Most recently Aldi had an amazing flash sale! Their prices were unbelievably low and the quality seems good,( though only time will tell.) I stocked up on shirts, socks, vests and even got a winter coat for each of them for under a tenner. Unfortunately they didn’t have Hugo’s size of trousers; it’s the size that most retailers are out of stock on.
None of the stores near us have the sort of shoes I’m looking for in Hugo’s size either- ones with a rubberised nose like the converse- that is more likely to stand up to the test of football, falling, crawling on the carpet, climbing trees and splashing in puddles.
3, A friend recently recommended another strategy- buy online, buy known brands, but spread the cost. She suggested I check out K&Co. I was intrigued and went to have a look. The prices aren’t cheap, but are definitely competitive.
By spreading the cost you don’t take the hit in one go, but spread it over 20 weeks of interest free payments (or, what I hope no one does, you can choose a longer period, but at a rate of interest charged!) It means when you do a lastminute shop just before school starts you don’t get the lastminute bill in one hit. The only drawback is, being September, you will need to consider the expenses incurred now in the Christmas period too.
While browsing the school uniform and shoe collection, I was slightly distracted by the lovely range of kids clothes from K&Co, put them in my basket then remembered it’s uniform and school starter kit I’m after.
I’ve just ordered a pair of school shoes for Hugo. I quite like the feedback from other customers that tells you how they stand the test of time and the downloadable measuring chart also made it easy to choose a size.
Signing up to the site was straightforward. If I had failed the credit check (which I did on first attempt because I entered my details incorrectly) I could’ve still ordered but would’ve had to pay on purchase. By setting up an account I was given a credit limit and will get monthly statements, just like from any credit card.
I’ll report back on the service and delivery. They should be waiting for us when we are back from our holidays.
How do you spread the cost of buying school uniforms for the beginning of the academic year? I’d love to hear your strategies.
UPDATE (02 Sept.): The shoes arrived within a day, I got the sizing wrong so I returned for free and got the size smaller. It was a very easy and painless process. So much less stressful than dragging my child through the busy shops. We now have shoes and a pile of uniforms to get us started in school tomorrow.
Disclosure: This post written in collaboration with K&Co and I was compensated for my time spent to review their webstore. ( I then spent that money on the shoes and some other goodies. D) Please don’t let that distract you from the essence of this post! The post reflects my actual financial management strategies and I am genuinely grateful for being pointed towards the mail order company as they supplement my way of budgeting our household income and for spreading larger expenses such as school start. I can leave the purchases to the last minute, but I don’t have to cope with the big hit in one go.