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#Schooluniform: a hard lesson in economics?

boy 2026310 640There’s only a few weeks left of the school term and the boy is looking very scruffy. The knees on his school trousers are close to collapse – thanks to slide-tackling in lunchtime football games. His school trainers are disintegrating. His school shoes are too small: it takes an effort to get them on each morning. Yes, I do worry that he will have bunions in later life but to be honest, I’ll take the risk. I’m not going to pay £40 for another pair now because by September his feet could be several sizes bigger.

I’ve started researching how much next year’s uniform is going to cost. He’s going to the senior school linked to his primary, so my expenses are lower than others – we’ve already got a blazer, jumpers and a tie. But that’s about it: I need to get a new PE kit, a sports bag, a school bag, a drama top (yes, me neither...), shirts, trousers, white trainers and black shoes. The last four I can get from anywhere (so I will probably bulk buy shirts and trousers from Marks & Spencer which currently has 20% off uniform – I will get them big in case he shoots up over the summer). But the rest need to come from the official school uniform supplier. So, given that the cost ranges from £11 for a pair of PE shorts to £28 for the sports bag, I’m looking at £100 for that lot.

Add on £40 for new school shoes, £30 for all-white trainers, the same for football boots, nearly £20 for two pairs of trousers and £20 for four shirts. It comes in close to £250. If I had to buy a blazer as well then it would be another £50 on top; the tie is nearly a tenner and school jumpers come in north of £20 each. So that’s more than £300. I’m sure that many schools would cost far more, but it’s still an expense and a bit. Yes, there is a secondhand uniform shop and I might have a look but it’s unlikely to have everything (or possibly anything) I need.

I wouldn’t mind the expense so much if I didn’t expect that by Christmas at least some of it will be missing/outgrown/ruined. And although I do intend to buy big sizes, I still bear the scars of being bought a massive blazer when I started secondary school that drowned me at 11 and to be honest, was still pretty gigantic when I was 16. I don’t want the boy to look as ridiculous as I did: frankly, you can be too cost-conscious.

What do you think? How do you save money on uniform? Let us know any top tips in the comments box below.

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Wednesday, 19 December 2018