How to Save Money on School Uniforms

School uniforms don't have to be expensive. With these money-saving tips, you can pick up the essentials for less.

A flat lay image of a grey and red school blazer, tie and bag.
(Image credit: Getty)

The debate about the cost of school uniforms has gone on for years, but recently, with everyday costs rising it’s become a bigger issue. Parents across the country dread school uniform shopping. Not just because it’s the kid's least favourite thing to do! It’s because the expense of uniforms alongside the cost of living had become quite frightening. 

As a mum of three, I’m used to finding ways to cut back each year, so I thought I’d share the ways I make savings for all parents feeling the pinch. 

Uniform Swap Shop

Lots of schools now run a uniform swap shop and if your child’s school doesn’t why not suggest it?! (finally, the parent’s group WhatsApp has real benefits). Kids often grow out of uniform quicker than they ware it out. Simply swapping sizes at school is a great way to save money! If this scheme is run well and regularly you can get kids through school and only pay for uniforms once!  

Head to the supermarket

Various school shirts hanging together on a rail in a supermarket.

(Image credit: Getty)

Designated school uniform shops are very expensive. If your school insists on uniforms with the school logo or badge you might not be able to avoid the visit to the school uniform shop (unless you use a school swap shop). However, items like school shirts, polo shirts, trousers, shorts and skirts are all available in the supermarket. 

They are often sold in multipacks which makes them even better value. From personal experience, I can recommend the school range from George at Asda  Not only is it great value, but the trousers and polo shirts have also survived a lot of washing! They also have school sweatshirts without logos available from as little as £2.50 - that’s a real bargain.  

Go up a size

Just as you would with all kid's clothes, go up a size. You may automatically go for the age your child is when they start the school year, but allow for growing room. This is really useful when it comes to expensive blazers and coats. Don’t worry if they look a little on the oversized side, your child won’t be the only one!

Even shorts, trousers and skirts can be bought in a larger size, just make sure you buy the ones with an adjustable waist (most of them have this feature). Take up the hems and let them down accordingly. You don’t need to be super handy with a needle and thread, but there are hundreds of tutorials on YouTube if you’re unsure. 

Are you eligible for a school uniform grant?

There are school uniform grants available that help parents who receive selected benefits. Eligible benefits include but are not exclusive to Universal Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits. You will need to check with your local council to see if you qualify. 

If you are eligible you might be entitled to: 

  • Up to £200 per child in Wales
  • Up to £150 per child in England and Scotland 
  • Up to £67 per child in Northern Island 

Bear in mind that if you are entitled to the uniform grant you might be eligible for free school meals too, so that’s worth checking out. 

Label everything!

A selection of different colour name tags in a pile.

(Image credit: Getty)

I know from my own experience how vital it is to label all your kid's clothing! There is nothing worse than a brand-new winter coat going missing during the first week of term to never be seen again. 

Reduce the risk by investing in some printed labels or even just a waterproof pen. Don’t forget to label your child's PE kit too…shorts always go missing. If you are at the start of your child's school journey or you have more than one child I highly recommend a stamp kit from Stamptastic.  

Consider preloved uniforms

There might be local selling groups or events organised by your school's PTA where you can pick up second-hand uniform items at bargain prices. The local ones are especially useful if your school insists on badges and logos being displayed. 

Other items like sportswear for example can be picked up from local sites and sustainable clothing apps. To give you a head start, here are some great places to browse:  

  • Vinted 
  • eBay
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Gumtree
  • Freecycle 

Don’t forget to check outlet stores

Outlet stores have some great bargains. They are especially good for additional items that the kids will need like school bags and shoes. I love Clark's school shoes as you can get the perfect fit and hold up well against playtime football matches. However, they aren’t cheap, so I head to Clarks Outlet either in person or online. You can save up to 70% off the full price, styles change all the time so check the site regularly.  

Use discount codes and loyalty cards

Discount codes really do make a difference, from free delivery or a nice 20% off voucher, it all helps when spending on school uniforms.  

Don’t forget to use loyalty cards too, especially if you have the Asda rewards scheme, or a Tesco Clubcard as any money or vouchers or money in your pot can go towards clothing too. 

Check out the sale rail

Two large sale signs displayed in a clothing store.

(Image credit: Getty)

The sales can be great for bargain school uniform items. Especially if you shop out of season. You can find school summer dresses and shorts during the winter months for less than half the price. And spring is a great time to pick up winter coats, just remember to size up if you are putting clothing away.  

Buying duplicates in the sale for a few years ahead is organised, it might feel strange picking up uniforms so far in advance, but you will thank yourself for it at a later date.  

Sarah-Jane Outten
Editor

Hi, I’m SJ. I’m an editor and content executive here at MyVoucherCodes. I started my journey here as a deals expert which gave me the skills to become a money-saving expert. You can find my tips and recommendations in various publications including The Sun, The Mirror, and The Telegraph.

I gained a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2018, and I’ve put my writing skills into many projects since then. My portfolio at sarahjaneoutten.com includes my work with Cardiff Times, Buzz Magazine and more. 

I write poetry and short stories for pleasure and enjoy getting creative with watercolours and lino printing. I hope that I can merge my love of writing and art into a children's book in the future - watch this space!