School uniforms cause a squeeze

Though most parents can probably barely wait to pack the kids off back to school, the cost of doing so might be a little less thrilling.

According to figures from the Citizens Advice Bureau, parents are being forced to shell out small fortunes on costly school gear from specialist suppliers.

Around 87% of parents have to buy at least one item from a retailer associated with their kid’s school, where the prices are often hugely inflated.

The figure is remarkable given the number of supermarkets out there offering cut price gear.

However, if you want your pride and joy to be as well turned out as Brooklyn Beckham without forking out the equivalent of an LA Galaxy wage packet then MoneyExpert can offer some top tips.

Get Online

Established sites such as E-bay and Schoolstrader can be used to buy (and sell) second-hand school uniforms. A new site aimed at the country’s 17,000 primary schools is set to launch in the autumn with plans to expand later to secondary schools.

Gumtree has an excellent section for second-hand sports clothing and equipment, and because it works regionally you can choose from sellers who live near you.

Charity shops

Most charity shops now have a rail for second-hand school uniforms where the prices are considerably lower. Some shops are obviously better than others. The Clarkston branch of Oxfam, on the outskirts of Glasgow, has a whole section overflowing with school uniforms thanks to a new initiative run with local schools.

Hit the supermarkets

The uniform price war that battled between supermarkets a couple of years ago have left prices at record lows, and with all the back to school adverts around you can hardly miss the bargains. The George range at ASDA offers a massive selection of uniforms and has prices that come straight out of a Pound Shop. Sainsbury’s and Tesco’s also offer good deals, both offering a trouser and polo shirt combination for around £5.

However, if your darlings simply have to have top end gear then there are some ways you can spread the cost. A huge number of credit cards offer 0% deals on new purchases for a set period, allowing you to spread the cost of forking out over at least six months, giving you time to get the kids back to school in relative peace.

Here are some of the best available:

Provider Purchase Rate/Introductory Period Typical APR (variable)
Halifax One 0%/12 months 15.9%
Barclaycard 0%/10 months 14.9%
Bank of Scotland 0%/9 months 13.9%
MBNA rewards 0%/9 months 15.9%

Compare all 0% purchase rate credit cards

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