Kitting our kids out for school is something that most of us will experience. It all starts when they are 4 years old and school is all very new and exciting and we enjoy getting everything that they need for their very first day. Uniform, shoes, underwear, packed lunches, coats and the list goes on. But how much should we spend when we are buying things for school?
Research showed that in 2014 an average cost of £240 was spent per child to kit them out ready for the September term. I don’t know about you, but I think that £240 per child is a little bit steep, especially because I have two children now at school, so that would mean that during August I would have spent around £480 on my kids just for school! Argh!
Now I know that each and every one of us parents will have different thoughts on how much we should spend. Some people might feel that quality is the only way to go no matter the cost, reasoning that quality products will last a lot longer. Others may feel that there is no point at all in spending a lot of money on anything for school, as things just get ruined or lost, so need replacing several times throughout the year. And then there are others who may feel that there are areas where money is best spent on quality items, but then saving money by buying cheaper products in other areas is the way to go.
Personally I think that each argument has valid points, and I suppose that sometimes the deciding factor can also be how much we can afford to spend.
Is it worth spending more for quality items?
So which common items is it worth spending that bit more on in order to get a quality product? Let’s look at a few of the main purchases we’ll make.
From my own experience of having children in school, I wouldn’t spend too much kitting them out. I would never spend a fortune on something that is then left completely up to my kids to take care of. I don’t know about you but forking out £80 for a winter coat and then it being chucked on the floor to be used as a goal post just doesn’t sit right with me. Because of this, I aim to spend around £30 on a good coat for winter. I obviously want them to be warm and dry, but I don’t want to break down in tears if they come out of school with a huge rip down the back of it either.
School shoes however is one area where spending a little bit more might be worth your while. As you can tell I have two boys that love to play football at school, so their shoes really do get pushed to their limits. I have bought a variety of quality in their school shoes, the cheapest being only £12, and to be honest they didn’t last very long at all. After these I went for a £16 pair of leather shoes that really did impress me. I know that even the £16 shoes are still cheap in comparison to Clarks and Start Rite, maybe next term I might give these a try but because I feel that the £16 shoes from Sainsbury’s are such good value for money and the quality is good, I think that I might just stick with what I like.
I think that buying the boys uniform is the easiest part. The supermarkets in my area offer very good value for money uniforms that have been tested to survive the roughest of games and the toughest of stains. Boys trousers can be picked up for only £4.00, packs of polo shirts for just £2,50, socks and vests for around £2.50 each. I really don’t think that you can get it much cheaper than that, and I can honestly say that they last. I buy the jumpers from school which does cost a bit more than the supermarkets own versions, but I think that they just look so smart with their little badges on their jumpers. So that is something that I think it is worth spending a little bit more on.
And then there are all of the extra little bits such as packed lunch boxes, stationary (depending on the age of your children), P.E kits, hats, scarves and gloves. These are all necessary items, but I don’t think that they need to cost a lot of money. Especially as hats, scarves and gloves never seem to survive the whole of winter in my house. Something will go missing at school which then ruins the whole set, so buying bargain accessories means that I can restock anything that they have lost without breaking into a sweat.
Where are the best places for picking up bargains?
As I have already mentioned, I think that checking out your local supermarkets is a great way to save money. They are very competitive with each other in this department so you are guaranteed to find good quality items at great prices. Also don’t forget about the smaller supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl. Every year they have a back to school offer on during summer and their prices must be the cheapest around, so it is definitely worth popping in to see what they have to offer.
When looking online the obvious choices will be Amazon and eBay, but if you are kitting out a child for the first time and you haven’t shopped with Vertbaudet before, then making use of their one off discount for new customers might work well for things like shoes and other accessories.
Don’t worry about what other parents are doing
When it comes to deciding how much you are willing to spend on kitting your kids out for school, don’t feel pressured from other parents to spend more money than you think is needed. Everyone has their own opinions and we need to just be happy and confident with our own decisions.
How about you, how much do you think we should spend on our kids for school?