I'm a bargain-hunting mum – my tricks can save you over £200 on school uniform | The Sun

A MONEY savvy mum has revealed how she saved £204 on her children's school uniforms.

As we approach the start of the summer holidays many parents will already be thinking about what they need to get their children come September.

But it can be costly and when purses are already feeling the pinch this added extra might be a worry for some.

Tess Gee is 44 and lives in Manchester with her two boys – Alfie, eight and Jack, 11.

She works as a PR for David Luke which sells school uniforms and it's given her the inside track.

She has managed to save £204 on her children's school uniforms through some clever money saving tricks.

Here, Tess shares her top tips to save cash.

Audit the old

The first tip Tess encouraged parents to use is to through wardrobes and drawers to see what can still be worn and still fits.

Tess has saved £82.50 – £50 on school shoes, £16.50 on shorts, £10 on a jumper and £6 on socks – simply by avoiding buying new.

She said: “School shoes are one of the biggest ticket items in my back-to-school shopping basket so even delaying their purchase by a few months can ease the pressure on my budget.

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"In September Alfie’s shoes were still in great condition and had just enough toe wiggle room to see him through to Christmas.

"I also keep all of Jack’s uniform to hand down to Alfie and top-up with new purchases to replace items such as white polo shirts that might look a bit tired or worn."

Buy bigger or stretchier

We can all picture a fresh-faced year seven about to start their first day of school wearing a blazer that's much too big for them – but Tess said this is a great way to save a bit of cash.

While of course children should feel comfortable in their clothes, if you can, get a size or two up so it lasts a little longer.

If you can't, look for items that are stretchier.

She said: “Adjustable waistbands are a lifesaver.

"My Aflie has worn his age 7-8 adjustable waistband shorts for two school years.

"This year I’ll be buying Jack a blazer for the first time and have chosen a style with enough space on the arm hem to adjust by around 1 cm if Jack suddenly has a growth spurt.”

In total, Tess has already saved £51.50 by buying bigger or elasticated items.

Swap shop

A third tip from the mum-of-two is to find out if your school hosts a clothes swap, or you could even set one up yourself.

These can be great places to find second-hand items for free and you can recycle anything your own children have grown out of as well.

On top of that, parents could check out local Facebook groups to see if any other families are after clothes on there.

Tess has saved £26 by swapping and selling outgrown items.

Tess said: "I love our school Reuse, Recycle Facebook page and have bagged loads of freebies including spare school jumpers and even a Scouts uniform.

"I’ve made friends with other parents who now look out for my listings as they know it will fit their kids."

She added: "It’s a great community and really helpful for sourcing and clearing out unwanted uniform."

By taking advantage of a clothes swap or selling online, Tess has saved £10 on a school jumper and £16 on Scouts trousers.

There's also a website called Uniformerly which allows parents to sell old clothes but also buy them secondhand.

Prices start from as little as 50p.

Repair and upcycle

If an item of clothing has a minor tear to it, or there's a loose thread, then try and fix it if you're able to.

Tess said she's managed to save two pairs of trousers by simply sewing up a small hole, equating to a £34 saving.

You could also think about how you may be able to upcycle something, said Tess.

If you've got a pair of your kid's trousers that are ruined at the bottom, you could turn them into shorts.

If you've got a dress-up day to find a costume for, you could turn an old shirt into something creative.

Tess said: “Our school has lots of fancy dress days during the year, this is where upcycling old t-shirts and uniform can be a great money saving tactic.

"Jack transformed his old PE t-shirt into a wearable book cover using fabric pens, saving me money and stress."

By not having to buy a costume for her son, she saved £10 when it was Jack's World Book Day.

See if you qualify for support

If you're really struggling to afford school uniforms, it's worth checking to see if you can get any financial support.

Some local councils and schools offer grants to low-income parents.

You can ask at your child's school for information as grants might come through the council or your local school uniform supplier.

For example, David Luke offers the Smart Start initiative which provides a full school uniform to families in Manchester who need a bit of support.

Tess said parents can apply via their school, support worker or local food bank.

The support will vary depending on what your local council and school are offering.

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Some families might be offered vouchers while others will be provided with free items.

It's always worth checking.

Do you have a money problem that needs sorting? Get in touch by emailing [email protected].

You can also join our new Sun Money Facebook group to share stories and tips and engage with the consumer team and other group members.

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