One of the most significant costs of sending kids back to school is their uniform – especially at the start of the new year. It’s a double whammy: people are still recovering from Christmas spending and suddenly they need an average of $265 extra dollars to spend just on shorts, shirts and shoes – and that’s only for one child! It’s no surprise that a recent survey has shown that almost 9 in 10 parents experience financial stress from having to buy school uniforms.
We’re aiming to reduce that burden with a guide on saving on NZ school uniforms. Here are our 5 top techniques:
1) JOIN A UNIFORM CLUB
Many schools and school uniform providers have a ‘uniform club’. These work much like Christmas clubs at supermarkets, but instead of Christmas dinner, you put aside a set amount of money every week into a special savings account to be used for new uniforms.
If you don’t have this option available, you can use the same method by including a special uniform category in your yearly budget.
This method only works if you start early, so be sure to be proactive.
2) BUY GENERIC WHERE POSSIBLE
School uniforms will often include branded items (a shirt with the school logo, for example) that can only be purchased from the school or the school supplier. However, this doesn’t mean all of the uniform needs to be bought from them.
“Black shorts” or “black dress shoes” can be bought for far cheaper elsewhere than at the school store most of the time. Be sure to check that the branded items are actually mandatory as well. A plain white buttoned shirt without a logo is just as good as one with – and less expensive too.
3) MEND AND REFIT
With school uniforms being so expensive, it can be cheaper to get them refitted or repaired rather than buy new. This is especially handy if you’re using hand-me-downs and the younger sibling is differently proportioned to the original owner.
You could go to a professional, but refitting is a skill you can learn yourself with patience – and it could save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.
4) BUY SECOND-HAND
Second-hand uniforms have a thriving community among schools and parents. Schools will often have a second-hand shop open near the start of the new year, which can be a good place to get the clothes you need for cheap. However, these are very popular, and they can sell out quickly.
Parent communities are also good sources for second-hand uniforms, and many uniforms get traded between parents of older kids and parents of younger at the same school. There are plenty of Facebook groups dedicated to this very thing (such as “Hawke’s Bay school uniforms buy and sell” – simply substitute your school name).
5) WORK WITH THE SCHOOL OR WINZ
Some schools are backed by charities such as KidsCan specifically to provide uniforms for those in hardship. The school will be able to advise you further on your options. WINZ also has a special grant for school uniforms, though you will need to pay this back eventually.
This can be an option if you are having a tough time affording school uniforms during this period of high spending.
Five ways to save on uniforms – but there are plenty more ways to keep costs low on everyday spending. Check out our guide to spending less at the supermarket for more tips, tricks and techniques.
This article is solely for information purposes and is not intended to be financial advice. If you need help, please contact Avanti Finance or your financial adviser. Neither Avanti Finance nor any person involved in this article accepts any liability for any loss or damage whatsoever which may directly or indirectly result from any information, representation or omission, whether negligent or otherwise, contained in this publication. References to third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. Avanti Finance accepts no responsibility for the availability or content of such websites.