Family

Back to school tips

This September will see CM starting Year 2 and B & E joining her in ‘big school’ and starting Reception.

It will be the second year of dressing all three in school uniform, and I like to think we are a little bit wiser as a result.

When CM started nursery, and wearing uniform, I made a conscious decision to kit her out in M&S uniform. I had taken advantage of a 20% off offer in July, and had desperately wanted to buy her uniform from M&S, reminiscing about the years I had envied children in their uniform as I attended school in my handmade, different, uniform.

It turns out M&S uniform wasn’t so good after all, it seemed to shrink in my washing machine, and all things told I wasn’t impressed. So much so I supplemented with Tesco and Asda uniform.

Roll on a year and all three needed uniform. And I decided to take advantage of a Tesco Boost offer to buy school uniforms, and whilst my points could have been spent- and quadrupled- on other offers, I liked that school uniform hadn’t technically put me out of pocket. 

First day in reception

There was some mixing-and-matching, mum had bought some additional items from M&S and Lidl, and I had received some items from Matalan, and being the traditionalist, their school shoes had come from Clarks. But all things told, nothing really let me down this year, although I do need to find a way to keep my whites white.

This year, we have followed the same idea, and the children’s uniform has predominately been purchased from Tesco. 

For each of the boys I have purchased: 2×3 polo shorts, 2x trousers, 2x shorts, 1x jogging bottoms, 1 pack of pants, 1 pack of 5 socks, 1 rucksack

For CM I have purchased: 2x summer dresses, 2x pinafores, 1x 5pk polo shirts, 1x jogging bottoms, 2 5pk briefs, 1 pack of 5 short socks, 1 pack of 5 long socks, 1 rucksack.

Preparing for back to school

And this totalled just short of £140.

In addition I will need jumpers, coats, and shoes.

For jumpers, the boys 5-6yr old tops will see them through for another year. They wear jumpers with logos on so these are a more expensive purchase. Last year we were lucky another to find a lady selling four on a Facebook uniform selling group and picked up a bargain.They had two already, so we do have enough to see us through the year.

CM definitely needs new ones, she spent last year in her 2 5-6yr old ones, and they were too small before she even started year 1, so we will need to pay out for new ones. Logo-ed tops are definitely the most expensive part of the uniform. Whilst Tesco didn’t stock the royal blue cardigans, Asda have both knitted and sweat cardigans at great prices, so I am intending to approach one of the local companies who stock the embroidered logo items and see if they’ll add the logos for me.

Mum found some great coats in Lidl last year which will fit the boys this winter, and I found some great summer jackets in the John Lewis sale, which means we just have CM to think about. I know this is going to be a challenge, wearing 8-9year old clothes at aged 6 means the styles just seem to old for her, shopping around will be required.

For shoes we have two lucky strikes. First, we have a Clarks outlet on our doorstep, and second we are TAMBA members which gets us a 10% discount. The outlet means the shoes are about £10 less and then we can add our discount. Whilst we spent over £100 we did come home with Clarks shoes and trainers for each child, and I feel a little grateful their feet don’t grow too fast.

First day at school shoes

The boys will also be joining the packed lunch crowd this year, a more difficult one as CM does prefer school dinners and won’t eat her packed lunch. The boys are so much more amenable, and we really can’t afford the expense the school dinners for 3. But the excitement of packed lunches has been overwhelming, not least the choice of lunch boxes. I thought I had been really budget conscious when shopping around for the desired superhero lunchboxes, and did buy them for half the price of the supermarket, but the I popped into Home Bargains and found them cheaper again. Definitely one for future reference.
Starting school and packed lunches
I’d love to hear your hints and tips for back to school, as I know this is just going to increase as a year on year expense.

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