Back to school – it’s one of those bittersweet times!
Yes, I loved spending extra time with my kids, but a bit of time apart wouldn’t go amiss 😉
However, what dreads me at this time of year is the extra costs we’ve got to fork out for.
With our youngest in primary school, things aren’t that bad. Most of her uniform can be non-branded and picked up for a cheap enough price, but it’s the bigger one that makes my bank account quiver!
At secondary school, she needs sports kits, football boots, astroturf boots, plus the actual uniform including a blazer, jumper and school shirt – which has to be school branded!
Instead of forking out your own cash, there are ways to get uniform mega cheap – or even for free!
School uniform grant
You’re able to get up to £150 for your child’s school uniform with a government means tested grant.
Depending on your circumstances, local councils can help families on low incomes with the cost of uniforms.
Not every council will offer this so you do need to check.
If you’re eligible, you’re able to get up to £150 to cover the costs of the actual uniform as well as PE kits.
Are you eligible?
Normally, you will be eligible if you receive any of the following benefits:
- Income support
- Job seeker’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
Remember, it’s not just about benefits. Your local council also needs to support the grant so, if they don’t you still won’t be able to get any support.
How can I apply?
You can check if your council offers support for school uniform costs on the government website.
Just enter your postcode and it’ll take you to your own council’s uniform policy page.
You’re generally able to make applications between 30 June and 30 September, but each council runs differently so, it’s best to check with them.
If you are eligible for a school uniform grant, you will likely be paid the money via cheque.
If your local council doesn’t support the school uniform grants or you’re not eligible to apply, there are a few other options to get cheaper school uniform.
Many schools offer nearly new sales.
It’s best to reach out to your school directly to see if it’s something that they, or the PTA, offer.
Their nearly new sales sell cheaper school uniform and PE kits that was donated or if it’s been in lost and found for too long.
Last year, we managed to get new school dresses for just £1 – like new!
Facebook Marketplace is a decent place to look at or other local Facebook selling pages.
Rather than sitting and waiting for something to pop up, put out a wanted advert. It could be that people have second-hand uniform but didn’t think about selling it before.
eBay will also have lots of uniforms, but if you’ve got a school with branded jumpers or ties then keeping it local is a winner.
While the government school uniform grant can be a real lifesaver for some, there is no duty for the councils to help.
If you’re really struggling with the costs of school uniform it’s best to approach the school directly to see if there’s anything else they can do to help.
Naomi knows the burden of living on very little and became debt free by learning from past mistakes and following her own money saving tips and tricks.