Although it hardly seems a minute since Roger Federer won Wimbledon – or since the sunshine of Glastonbury Festival – the summer of 2017 is just about over. And, as the school term looms, so too does the huge bill that comes with kitting out kids for another academic year. No one wants to go back to school for a new term without all the essentials so where can you find the deals to get everything you need for the family without breaking the bank?
Despite the tech that drives many classrooms these days most kids still need good old fashioned stationery for day-to-day learning. From pens and paper to notebooks and pencil cases, if you’re getting a great deal on back to school stationery then everyone is happy. High street store Paperchase has a range of super colourful stationery and kit for children of all ages – they’re currently offering 3 for 2 on all the essentials, from highlighters to erasers. You can also pick up the basics from Poundland, which it currently has a special 3 for £1 deal.
School shoes and coats tend to take a real battering during term time so it’s always a good idea to try and find these at the best possible price. Littlewoods is currently offering a 15% discount on school shoes and coats. All you have to do is spend £25 on school items, add the shoes and coat you’re looking for and you’ll get 15% off.
A number of big retailers have been running promotions on school uniforms for several months now. Most are extending their savings and discounts until the new term starts again so it’s the ideal time to start stocking up on essentials for the year ahead. Supermarkets are some of the best places to shop for school uniforms. Most of the big names now have their own brand ranges and the price war that is heating up between them means that the costs are going down. Lidl, for example, has returned for the Autumn term with its best selling school uniform. It’s currently just £3.75, which is 25% cheaper than Aldi’s and 56% cheaper than Tesco’s. The full uniform includes 2 polo shirts, a sweatshirt or jumper, and a pleated skirt or trousers.
Of all the pieces from the wardrobe of a school-age child, it’s perhaps the sports kit that endures the most wear and tear. Mud, sweat and constant washing can make this a serious expense – particularly if you’ve got a budding footballer or tennis star on your hands. Right now there are plenty of options for finding great deals on school sports kit. Debenhams, for example, currently has a school uniform sale where you’ll find a wide range of basics at some serious discounts. Some are summer term purchases but the selection of shoes, sports kit, bags and waterproofs offers discounts of up to 68% off. High street shoe chain Clarks is also offering a smart bargain for savvy parents. With every full-price pair of shoes, you can get £5 off a pair of trainers or sports shoes – until 10th September.
Every year Apple offers a back to school promotion that is aimed at school and university students who need tech supplies for the new term. Apple is renowned for being pretty relaxed about who can get these discounts so anyone who is a student at school, college or university – or even a teacher or parent of a student – is able to access them. If you make use of this deal you’ll get 15% off everything from laptops and iPads through to headphones and speakers. For those based in the UK that means you could be looking at paying £772.80 for a MacBook that usually costs £899.
If you’re not able to find discounts with the brand that you want to buy from there are other options too:
Cashback – many cashback sites (e.g. Quidco) will help you to generate cashback that you can use with your favourite back to school retailers.
Store cards – if you’re planning to make a big back to school purchase now might be a good time to sign up for a store card to take advantage of any sign up discounts.
Vouchers – voucher websites are also jumping on to the back to school sale frenzy and offering discounts directed at parents who are looking to save. Shop around to find the best and lowest deals.
The new term doesn’t have to leave you penniless. Smart shopping decisions can considerably cut the cost of back to school in 2017.
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley