We got our kids school ready for just £9 each including ALL their uniforms – our bargain tips will save you hundreds

THE average cost of a school uniform in the UK in 2019 was an eye-watering £134 per child, according to a survey which revealed many mums and dads cut back on essentials to clothe their kids. 

For mum of three Danielle Scott, 33, that’s £402 – nearly three times her monthly food bill of £120. 

So this year Danielle and her mum Doreen scoured the bargain rails of their local supermarkets and looked online to find the best deals – and she managed to dress her three for less than £30 all in.

So too did Lauren Blezard, 28, who lost her job at the beginning of the pandemic.

She spent less than a tenner on daughter Betsy's school uniform.

And it's great news for Fabulous readers as the pair now reveal how they managed to snag such amazing deals.

I yelled for mum to come help when I spotted the bargain shirts

Full time mum-of-three Danielle Scott, 33, from Thurrock, Essex, dressed all three of her children for the new term for just £28. She says:

Being a mum-of-three, I am always conscious of ways I can save money. 

Lockdown hit me and my husband, Rikki, 33, pretty hard.

Rikki is on a low income wage as a calor gas installer and having three children home full time proved very expensive.

We’ve very little money left for treats, so after spending around £130 on school uniforms for our two boys, Connor, 12, and Oliver, six, in 2019 we realised we had to cut back this year.

Especially since our youngest, Annabelle, four, is starting school for the first time – and she’ll be in dresses so can’t borrow her big brothers’ clothes. 

Kids get so messy so easily. 

I can buy Connor new shoes and within a week he’ll have wrecked them by kicking a football about every day. 

Meanwhile, Oliver always wipes his sleeve against the whiteboard in the classroom. It says these pens are washable if they stain clothes… it’s not true.

So, eager to save money when coronavirus hit, I made a vow to hunt around for bargains… but I didn’t expect it to be so easy.

At the beginning of March I was doing our monthly food shop in the big Aldi near our home in Thurrock, Essex, when I spotted a pile of kids’ school clothes marked down to £1.75. 

I was with my mum Doreen, 60, and I yelled for her to stop shopping for food and come and grab them.

We went through them all digging out the correct sizes. 

In total we managed to find polo shirts in white for £1.75 for Annabelle and Oliver, smart school trousers for Oliver and Connor, a black pinafore dress for Annabelle and £6.99 shoes for Oliver.

It inspired me to bargain hunt further and so I scoured the internet and got £5.99 school shoes for Annabelle in her size from Amazon. Connor didn’t need new shoes – his old ones fit. 

I was really pleased with what I saved. 

When I arrived home from the supermarket I yelled to Rikki ‘got all the kids school clothes with the school shop – guess how much it cost?’

The soaring cost of school uniforms

Last year research firm Mintel found that parents spent an average of £134 on school uniforms and shoes alone – up six per cent from £127 in 2017.

When you add on the cost of computer equipment at £220 and sportswear at £74 that takes the grand total £428.

Mintel said this average spend is per family and is based on 599 internet users over the age of 16 who are parents of children aged 4 to 17.

But either way it's a big sting on already squeezed wallets – it was revealed that one in six families goes without essentials, such as food or heating, in order pay for school uniforms.

He thought around £300… and was amazed when I told him £148… just £28 more than our usual monthly food bill.

A few years ago I bought a £14.99 sticker machine from Aldi too, so I can make my own tags for the children’s clothes. That’s saved me loads of money too.

With the cash we saved I took the kids, Rikki, my mum and dad out for a big family meal to the local Beefeater for Connor's birthday. 

And – because it’s August – we used the Eat Out to Help Out save money there too!

I posted my bargains on a Facebook page for mums because I was so impressed with what I’d got. Some people were critical, saying ‘I only buy Marks’ but I love my cheap school uniforms.

For mums on a budget like me they’re perfect.

Danielle's school uniform breakdown

£1.75 two polo shirts, Aldi

£1.75 trousers, Aldi

£6.99 shoes for Oliver, Aldi 

£2.99 black pinafore dresses, Aldi

£5.99 shoes for  Annabelle, Amazon

£2.99 10 school socks, Asda

£6 two shirts for Connor, Asda

TOTAL COST: £28.47

The kids grow so quickly – spending loads is a waste

Full time mum Lauren Blezard, 28, from Croydon, south London, dressed her daughter for the new term for just £8.60. She says:

Just before lockdown hit in March I lost my job as a bartender. 

Meanwhile, my husband John, 32, doesn’t earn huge amounts of money as a self-employed bricklayer – so saving cash is hugely important to us.

We can’t spend huge amounts of money on school supplies, especially when kids grow so quickly.

We’ve got two girls, Betsy, four, and Bonnie, two. This September Betsy will be starting school for the first time – she’s so excited.

I was worrying a bit about how we’d afford the uniform, I know how much they cost in department stores, so I was so pleased with what I got one for.

I got two polo shirts from Aldi for £1.79. 

Her skirt came from Aldi for £1.71. Meanwhile, I also picked up five socks for £4. 

Her shoes were £6.99 – also from Aldi.

In total I spent £14.49 – but that’s with spare shirts and extra socks.

Taking away the extras, which I’ll put away as spares, the outfit cost just £8.60.

A friend goes to Marks and spends a fortune.

A friend goes to Marks and spends a fortune. To be honest I can’t tell the difference. Betsy looks so smart and I’m so proud of her.

To be honest I can’t tell the difference. Betsy looks so smart and I’m so proud of her.

A friend goes to Marks and spends a fortune. To be honest I can’t tell the difference. Betsy looks so smart and I’m so proud of her.

I told everyone on Facebook and the comments I got were varied. Some people were so pleased I had flagged the bargains to be had, but others claimed it was rubbish quality.

But I don’t think it is and I don’t care. Even if Betsy only gets one or two wears out of them and they get smeared in paint, it’s worth it for the money I’ve saved – we’re putting the cash towards a much-needed holiday.

Lauren's school uniform breakdown

Two shirts £1.79, Aldi

Skirt £1.71, Aldi

Five socks £4, Aldi 

Shoes, £6.99, Aldi


Could you get financial help with your child's school uniform?

PARENTS may be able to claim up to £150 to help cover the cost of buying new school uniform this autumn.

As thoughts turn towards returning to school, you may qualify for some financial help – depending on where you live.

Under the Education Act 1990, local authorities have the power to provide financial help to parents on low incomes to assist them with buying school clothing for their children.

But this is not a statutory duty in England.

Sadly, this means parents face a postcode lottery – as each council chooses whether to offer financial aid, who is eligible and what items they will help pay for.

Lots of councils no longer offer the grant, with some blaming years of cutbacks.

The system is different in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, where councils are required to offer assistance.

Rules vary but generally you will qualify for a school uniform grant in England if you receive one of the following:

  • Income support
  • Jobseeker's allowance (income based)
  • Child tax credit – provided you are not entitled to working tax credit
  • Employment support allowance (ESA)
  • State pension – this benefit must be your sole source of income
  • Support under Part IV of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999
  • Universal Credit

You can use this government website to work out which local authority you fall under.

Then, to find out whether your local authority offers school uniform grants, the first step is to visit your council's website.

Click on the education tab or search for "uniform grant".

This mum feeds her family of three for less than a tenner a week – read her tips here.

And mums love this wooden Aldi playhouse – we can see why!

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