Saving Money on School Uniform – Back to School Costs

Back to School, can be such a costly time of year.. and it just seems to creep up on us parents every year… even though we know it is coming! I suppose the end of the school year is such a busy time, and the start of the new school year seems so far away…

Back To School

By far the best way of getting ahead, and reducing the stress of back to school costs is to start a sinking fund… saving little and often towards these costs. I started my back to school sinking fund in January, and have been saving monthly towards these costs.

I am going to be sharing different ways that you can also reduce the cost of school uniforms for your little one, and hopefully you can use some of these tips to help you save a little of the expense that uniforms can be, which is especially important with the cost of living rising.

School Uniform costs

Check your local grocery shops, for school uniform. They often sell great quality uniform at a fraction of the price that the same uniform would be from the school uniform shop. Check your uniform list, see what uniform must be from the school uniform shop, and buy the uniform elsewhere! I have often found the uniforms from the grocery stores to actually be better quality too. They are often anti-wrinkle technology, anti-stain, adjustable waist and also hems that you can lengthen! I would especially keep an eye out in grocery shops in July, as they often have sales on their uniforms at this time of year, however you’ll have to be quick! They often sell out of popular sizes quickly. Double check also if you need the stores app, in order to able to avail of the sale.

Crested uniform can be so expensive, and unfortunately if your school has a crested uniform, it is usually compulsory on the uniform list. However there are still some savings to be made with crested uniforms. First I would really recommend asking friends and family that may have older kids in the same school, if they have uniform that they no longer need. Another option is to see if the school has a second hand sale, check with uniform sale/swap groups on Facebook. Sometimes you can find second hand uniforms for sale on online marketplaces, or even check out your local charity shops!

Uniform savings

Another way you can save money on school uniforms, is inquire with the uniform shop or school, to see if you can purchase the crest itself. You can then either sew it on or sometimes you can even iron on a crest. This means that you can purchase your uniform for a much more affordable price, from the grocery store and then add the crest. Something to note, is that some uniform shops will only provide the crest, if you get them to sew on the crest.

Irish Budgeting

Its also important to factor in how much your little one, or perhaps not so little one, will grow. I have found it so hard to source uniform a little further into the school year, and also this will save you money. This is where an adjustable uniform will really help. Can you adjust the waist, lengthen the legs? Make sure you get enough too.. I have a boy in this house that loves playing all the sports, and this can mean a few holes in the knees! So an extra pair or two trousers has been vital.

Sinking Funds – What are they?

Irish Budgeting – YouTube

Ok … hold up… what are these sinking funds I hear you talking about? Rainy day funds, stash, reserves, kitty, dips… there are so many other names for sinking funds.. but they are essentially money put aside for big expenses that are coming.

The idea is that you save little and often, over time, in order to accumulate enough money for a large expense. The due date is usually known, and also the total amount needed is also usually known and certainly the goal! Examples include Christmas, Birthdays, Back to school and Insurances.

Why use Sinking Funds?

Less stressed about trying to save a large amount. Less likely to panic about the sudden onset of a large expense. Less likely to increase your debt, which could cause more stress down the line, as it slows down your progress. Less likely to dip into your emergency fund and savings.

Sinking funds give you an amazing peace of mind!

Imagine this Christmas, being able to afford to buy your loved ones presents, without any stress or worry. Being able to enjoy this season, without the stress and financial worries in January. The first year we saved ahead for Christmas, I couldn’t believe the peace of mind it gave me.

Ok! I like it, how do I start using Sinking Funds?

So first you need to plan ahead. What large expenses do you having coming up? What expenses to you struggle to cash flow, year on year? I have sinking funds towards braces for my daughter, back to school, birthdays, Christmas, car maintenance and holidays.

Then with your chosen sinking funds, you need to decide when it is due and how much you need to save. This will help you prioritise your categories.

For example: Christmas, target amount €1,000, Due 1st December.

Next you need to decide how you are going to tackle this sinking funds. There are two main ways people save towards sinking funds. You can take that target amount for each sinking fund and divide it by the number of weeks till it is due. The second way is the way that I tackle sinking funds, and that is to tackle by priority, or due date. So I am concentrating on Back to school currently, as that will be due very soon, once I have paid that fund I will move onto funds like Christmas. It is up to you which method you choose to use, I have used both, and both work really well.

Where should you save your Sinking Funds?

You can save into envelopes using cash. I like this method, its easy to see and its tangible. Its good for people that are visual and like to see what their sinking funds are and exactly what they are saving towards.

The second option is to save into digital envelopes. Currently in Ireland, there is a company called Revolut that has a facility called saving vaults. There are other companies, especially in other countries that have similar facilities. These are separate “digital envelopes” to save money in, and you can name each one the name of your sinking fund.

The third option is an account that consolidates your money. So your sinking funds are all lumped together in the same account. This I feel is not the most straight forward option, as it involves a bit of paperwork on your behalf, to know what you are putting towards each category.

I personally use a mixture of the first two options. I like to save cash into each sinking fund in my sinking fund binder.. however once the category gets to a certain amount I transfer it to my Revolut account and place it into its relevant vault. This is great for safety reasons and it also means that I can buy items online, or transfer money if I need to.

I hope this helps you to understand sinking funds, and what a useful tool they can be!

Do you use Sinking Funds? Let me know down below!