Don’t over pay on back-to-school gear

School uniform can get expensive
School uniform can get expensive
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With the August bank holiday over, and the new school term just around the corner, hard-pressed mums will have to start gearing up to kit out the kids with everything they need for the new school year.

Mums already struggling to balance the household budget and under pressure from the recession will have to find an average of £200 per child for the uniform, shoes, basic sports kit, school bag, lunch box, books, and stationery.

But whether you’re a nervous mum preparing to send your child off to school for the first time, or a seasoned old hand facing the prospect of the new school year, Streetwise can help you find the best deals around and buy it all for less.

First, look over the list of basics the school has provided, and draw up a checklist. If you don’t want to do all the donkey work, take a peek at netmums.com which has a school uniform template.

Be wary of official school uniform retailers. If the school insists you must buy specific items from them, buy only the minimum.

The key to getting up to 50 per cent off schoolwear is to shop around on the internet. There’s a huge range of prices and offers around, if you know how to track them down. Cashback websites will also save around eight per cent off using their voucher codes.

A good starting point is the big four supermarkets, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Morrisons.

They’re all offering back to schoolwear essentials for a combined price of around £10. Before you start salivating, these headline prices are for infants, so expect to pay more if your kids are older.

Asda’s George is offering a whole uniform (ages three to 15) for only £7. You get two polo shirts, and a skirt or trousers, and jumper. They come with a free in-store collection service plus a 100-day guarantee.

Sainsbury’s has countless uniform bargains. For three to five-year-olds prices start from as little as £2 for trousers, shorts, jumpers and shirts, making the total cost for a full uniform of £6. For six to nine-year-olds the complete uniform will set you back £11 and 10 to 12-year-olds £14.

Tesco has top school uniform deals from their F&F budget range. Sweatshirts start at £2, polo shirts at 75p, and boys’ trousers or girls’ skirts from £1.75. It also has a school emblem embroidery service for polo, sweatshirts, and tops. Collect your order with the weekly shop.

Odd one out Morrisons currently has a multibuy deal of two for £5 on any two packs of vests, shirts, trousers, and socks for ages three to 12 years. You can only buy them in store and not online.

Shoes are usually the most expensive element of the kitting out process. For bargains galore try Priceless Shoes (pricelessshoes.co.uk) where boys and girls school shoes start from £4.

M&M Direct (mandmdirect.com) is currently offering cheap school sportswear, with branded trainers starting at £12.99.

Most supermarkets can’t be beaten for price on stationery, schoolbags, and lunchboxes. WH Smith has a half-price offer on arts and crafts materials. Their pocket calculators start from as low as £2.49. To cut costs further look out for voucher codes.

Website 7dayshop.com has spectacular offers on three flash drives for £9.99, twin pack multicolour pens at £2.99, cheap stationery, and glue.

If your household budget won’t stretch to all new items, log onto schooluniform.co.uk, a supersite dedicated to used schoolwear, musical instruments, sports gear, and books.