Money-saving expert mum-of-three’s top tips for back-to-school shopping – Manchester Evening News

by MoneySaverExpert

Although the school year comes to an end in a few weeks, a lot of parents will already be worrying about the costs of their children returning in September.

As the cost of living crisis rages on, anyone responsible for buying uniform and equipment for schoolkids could find themselves struggling. Fortunately, popular lifestyle/money saving blogger and mum-of-three Mrs Mummypenny has revealed her top tips to save parents from breaking the bank to get their kids back to school.

Mrs Mummypenny, whose real name is Lynn Beattie, has three sons – aged 14, 12 and nine. She wrote in the Mirror that “the best time to start shopping is now”.

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Back to school offers are available from Aldi from this weekend – online from July 3 and in store from July 7.

These are Mrs Mummypenny’s top tips for the back-to-school shop:

Write a shopping list

Write a list, just like your grocery shop, of everything that you need for your back-to-school shopping. Here are some ideas:

  • Polo shirts for primary school
  • Button up formal shirts for secondary school
  • Trousers for secondary school
  • Shorts for primary school
  • Jumpers for primary school
  • Blazer and tie for secondary school
  • Sports kit
  • PE Trainers
  • School shoes
  • Stationery
  • Packed Lunch Box
  • Drinks Bottle
  • Name labels

Try and get hand-me-downs
Try and get hand-me-downs

Can you find buy second-hand?

Ask friends with older children if they have any uniforms in good condition that can be passed down. This is hugely useful for more expensive items such as secondary school blazers or PE kits where you are instructed to have school badges on them.

All schools have a second-hand shop where uniforms can be purchased for much lower prices. Browse your local Facebook pages for school uniform and try to get as much as you can at the lower prices.

Cheap polo shirts, buttoned formal shirts, shorts, trousers

The supermarkets have worked hard to make these basic uniforms as low in price as possible. You can get a full uniform (jumper, two polo tops, skirt or trousers) for £5 in Aldi this year.

Mrs Mummypenny has tried and tested supermarket uniforms over the years and the quality is good. She has bought in the past from Aldi, Asda and Tesco.

Aldi is normally the cheapest by far and is perfect for polo shirts and jumpers. However, most supermarkets are still yet to announce their bundles and deals.

Many primary schools allow non logo uniform thankfully.

Mrs Mummypenny recommends Asda for school shorts and trousers, along with multi packs of formal shirts for secondary school. Jumpers without logos are great from the supermarket costing around £5 for two jumpers.

Cheap school shoes

Mrs Mummypenny admits she has found school shoe shopping to be stressful, particularly when the children go through two to three pairs of shoes a year. She does not buy expensive anymore as they still don’t last after the endless playground wear and tear.

For secondary school she goes to shops such as Next for bigger men sized shoes. Standard lace-up black smart shoes are around £35. Compared to an equivalent in Clarks at £15 more.

For primary school shoes, she has always bought a £20ish pair of plain black trainers. They double up for PE as well. She says she has experimented with the supermarket school shoes but have struggled with quality.

Mrs Mummypenny runs a successful money-saving blog
Mrs Mummypenny runs a successful money-saving blog

Cheap uniform with a school badge

This will probably be the most expensive part as frustratingly, there are so few shops that sell the official uniform with school badges. A school blazer for secondary school is generally only available at one shop, and they therefore charge whatever they want.

The same applies to secondary school PE kit. Consider buying second hand hand-me-downs. And of course, buy big so they last as long as possible!

Cheap stationery, packed lunch boxes and drinks bottles

Tupper wear boxes are perfect for lunchboxes. Sturdy and not embarrassing for secondary school and cost £2/3 rather than up to £10 for a fabric branded lunch box.

You can save a small fortune sending children to school with packed lunches compared to school dinners.

The drinks bottles Mrs Mummypenny bought this year are metal, as the plastic ones are dropped and break. There are some great bottles that keep drinks cold for 12 hours for £5 in Asda.

Stationery is often something that you have a lot of already at home. Raid those drawers of doom and locate all the lost pens, pencils, and rubbers. Again, the supermarkets have a great essentials range of stationery.

Cheap name labels

A great tip for labels is to put all your children’s names on the label – then you can use the same label for all the children.

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