The children have now been back to school for just over a week, and we’re settling back into our normal term time routine.
We’ve also been hit by the normal “start of term” bills: school shoes in the next size up, school dinners, subs for Cubs and Scouts, a term of swimming lessons for both and restarting music lessons and other clubs. Ooof.
So here are five frugal things I did, to cut the cost of returning to school!
Bought uniform in the Sainsbury’s TU sale
Supermarkets can be a lifeline when looking for school uniform for less.
The prices at Sainsbury’s are low at the best of times, but even better during a 25% off sale. When I was madly unsubscribing from marketing emails, to remove shopping temptation, I kept the Sainsbury’s ones so I’d be notified about sales and Nectar offers.
Post with 30 tips to stop shopping
Sainsbury’s seem to run a TU sale at some point every summer, so it’s worth watching out for. It meant I could get a triple pack of blue polo shirts at for example £3.37 rather than £4.50, and a two pack of longer length school trousers for £6.75 rather than £9. Plus I racked up a few Nectar points to use towards the cost of Christmas.
The total still added up to nearly £40, but we ended up with 12 polo shirts, 6 pairs of school trousers and a couple of pairs of PE shorts. I even got round to returning the pack of trousers that were too short, so we got a refund.
Swooped on stationery in Flying Tiger
Rekcon I’m lucky that I wasn’t forced to fork out a small fortune on new stationery at Smiggle or Paperchase. Instead, I took the kids along to Flying Tiger, and we picked up a couple of new pencil cases and llama dual ink pens for £7 all in. Phew. Reckon Father Christmas likes Flying Tiger for cheap and cheerful stocking fillers too.
Nabbed extra Nectar points when buying a backpack on Ebay
We don’t automatically buy everything new for the start of the school year. My son got a new backpack during the summer term, so I didn’t replace his. But my daughter didn’t find one she liked then, and still needed a new one.
Just before term started I got an email promising 1,000 Nectar points if I spent more than a fiver on eBay, so I tracked down a much-wanted Ravenclaw rucksack there. I figured if I had to buy one anyway, I might as well nab the extra points. Normally 1,000 Nectar points is worth a fiver off your shopping, but it can be worth up to £10 during promotions.
My only reservation is that although the rucksack has the logo my daughter loves, it doesn’t have an external pocket for a waterbottle, or any little pockets inside. Live and learn.
Claimed a new water bottle for free
One of the water bottles my children take to school each day was still going strong. However, my son had helpfully chewed the plastic top on the other one, making it liable to leak. Luckily it was a “bottle for life” from our local East of England Co-op (remember when I was given one at the Co-op Annual Members’ Meeting?). This meant I could take the chewed version back, and switch it for a new one, for free. Many cheers.
Baked biscuits rather than bought snacks
Rather than buying some after-school snacks, I decided to bake oat and raisin cookies using ingredients we had in the house. Net spending: 0p. Definitely cheaper than forking out for the Bear Yo Yo rolls that were so popular at their old school!
I used some Marriage’s Golden Wholegrain flour and this recipe from their website, as I’d spotted a competition on the Marriage’s Facebook page asking people to post photos of baking using their products. The cookies tasted great, and I took a quick pic before the kids scoffed the lot*. Wish me luck with the competition!
*I may have helped
Now over to you – what are your top frugal tips when getting the kids back to school? Do say in the comments, I’d love to hear!