Most children who go to school need to wear some sort of uniform. Whether it is a set outfit with school badges, or simply a set of clothing with a specific colour scheme, it can become very expensive to buy school uniform if you have several fast growing children.
Asking at your local school is the easiest way to find out which stores stock your schools correct uniform. They may offer prospective students with a list of preferred stores, and when you go to a store you should always ask if there is a school discount. Local stores may offer one but only if people ask, remember it isn’t actually in their benefit to offer discounts automatically.
Where to buy school uniforms online
A search of a Google for school uniforms online will bring up thousands of results, so you may want to use a site that you have used for other things such as Amazon or check out smaller online stores on eBay or Amazon marketplace. The biggest problem when buying uniform online is that you cannot try on the clothes before you buy them for your child, although most stores now offer free returns and exchange. You may also have to buy school badges separately and add them on, but most badges can now be iron applied makes things easier.
When best to buy school uniforms
The best time to buy school uniform is just as your rapidly growing child needs them to get the most value out of your purchase. But in reality, you will buy once or twice a year, usually just before a massive growth spurt making those trousers a little too short. In terms of getting the best price, the ideal to buy is when uniform is on offer. This may well be late on in the first month of the school year, e.g. the end of September. Because of wear and tear (think falling over outside ruining a new uniform) and growth spurts, it is definitely my opinion to buy that uniform when it is cheapest even if your child doesn’t quite need new uniform yet.
Buying school uniforms second-hand
Second hand school uniform can usually be had from online websites such as eBay and from local stores especially charity shops. Many school parent teacher associations (PTA) offer second-hand uniform sale days at the start of term with the money going to charity. Donating to these event is a good way to get rid of unused uniform and makes some money for good causes.
Buying quality vs. lower cost uniform
A quality uniform might cost much more money and last longer as a garment, but because your child is fast growing they will probably out grow it well before it wears out. The caveat to this is if you have another younger child who can use the same garment or know of someone else who will use it, preferably someone who will pay you something for it.
What to do with your child’s uniform once they are finished with it?
Their will always come a time when you can no longer use the school uniform your child or children have. They will grow out of it at some point and you might think about throwing it away – don’t. Selling it is the most financially favourable option, as long as it is in a condition where it can be sold. If it looking too bad to sell, try giving it to your schools PTA or a local charity shop in town. They may be able to sell the uniform to fund their own causes, or donate it to people who really need it. Either way, you should try not to put old uniform in the bin.
Trying to get a group discount
Getting a group discount is an excellent way of reducing the cost of buying new uniform. Getting together with a group of parents might allow you to buy directly from the manufacturer saving the group of you money. Even if you cannot buy direct from the manufacturers, stores may offer bulk discounts for group purchases. You may even be able to form a buying co-operative and buy uniform at certain times of the year offered to the whole school. Contacting the schools parent-teacher association might enable you to get a school wide scheme going.
To get the cheapest school uniform I recommend the following:
- Buy at different times of the year, or when on sale to always buy uniform at a discount.
- Buy on sale in anticipation of your child needing the uniform, rather than paying full price when you need the uniform instantly.
- Think about how long you are going to need the uniform to last, if it is only for a year then buy lower cost goods. If you know it can be passed onto someone or to another child, buy something that it more expensive but better made.
- Buy second hand from PTA stalls or fairs, get there early to get the best uniform.
- Investigate to see if you can buy uniform in a group to get a better deal. You might be able to buy direct from the manufacturers if you have enough people.
Finally, once your child has finished with their uniform, don’t throw it away. Either sell it or donate it to school or charity. A child might be very grateful of getting a uniform at all, especially at schools when branded uniform is available but not compulsory – which is common at first or primary schools.
So where is the cheapest place to buy school uniform?
Buying the cheapest school uniform requires research, comparison and some thought. If you have many children the small amount of work could pay you back several times over in financial savings. If I had to choose one method of buying cheap school uniforms, buying second hand or through a PTA would be favourite it can both save you money and make money for charity or for your school.
How do you buy your school uniform? Do you buy your child’s uniform online or through a school PTA? Leave a comment below to tell others how you buy uniform.