At Wynsors World of Shoes, we care about parents.
In response to various reports of outrage regarding mounting school uniform costs, we carried out a survey of 2,000 mums and dads to discover how this issue is impacting our customers – and we were surprised to find out that one in five parents spend up to £300 on school uniform each summer.
We also discovered that 63% of parents believe schools are putting households under too much financial pressure with their clothing requirements. These uniform policies leave parents unable to buy cheaper options, and lumber them with a hefty bill for expensive, branded clothing.
Have you experienced that all-too familiar twinge of guilt because you had to ignore your child’s request for cool school shoes? 62% of our survey respondents have been there too.
Well we’re trying to help in any way we can – click here to find out more about our latest campaign, to ensure that all children’s shoes become VAT-exempt, regardless of their size.
In the meantime though, we’ve spoken to some of the top mummy bloggers on the internet to find out their top tips for keeping costs down. Read on to find out what they said.
Must Your Child Wear the Official School Uniform?
It could seem like an obvious point, but it’s possible your child’s school is happy for kids to wear clothing that you’ve sourced yourself, as long as it is the right style and colour – even if they have an assigned uniform.
We spoke to Sabina from Deep in Mummy Matters, who gave us the lowdown on her own experience.
“We are actually very lucky.
“Our school only insists [on] logo t-shirts, we can buy logo everything but the school understands that not all parents can afford it, so provided we stick to navy cardis and jumpers and grey trousers, shorts and skirts, they don’t mind.
“We do have the other end of the spectrum with our eldest who goes to Grammar School and they insist on logo everything which costs a fortune and he often loses items. We once replaced sweatshirts three times in one term!”
Is Quality or Cost More Important In The Long Run?
Of course, we all know it’s about finding the right balance between the two. Jen from Mum in the Mad House reminds us that longevity is as important as saving money – that way you’ll reduce your costs in the long run.
“Look at things in a cost-per-wear way. Often less expensive items might not last the whole year. “
Thanks to the pressure that some schools are supposedly piling on parents, some mums and dads struggle to afford the uniform requirements, let alone ‘cool’ bags and other accessories their kids have asked for.
However, we agree that buying low-quality items might lead to repeat purchases.
On the plus side, when it comes to footwear we’ve got you covered. At Wynsors you’ll find school shoes from renowned, reliable brands, so you and your child will easily find a pair of trendy school shoes which are also cost-effective and great-quality!
You can rest assured that you’ll find the same quality in our own-brand footwear too – we pride ourselves on providing affordable excellence.
Choose a Size Bigger in Uniform – But Not School Shoes!
When it comes to buying school uniform, Clare from Emmy’s Mummy believes that choosing a bigger size is the key to saving money on the back-to-school shop.
“If you can get away with it, always size up on uniform. Turning the cuffs up on school jumpers or cardigans will see them lasting six months to a year longer than buying ones which fit like a glove on their return to school.”
Here at Wynsors we can’t fault this advice, though as trained shoe fitters we wouldn’t suggest using the same trick with footwear. Ill-fitting school shoes can cause discomfort, and in a worst case scenario, could be detrimental to a child’s health – here’s why.
Tag Your Child’s Clothes – With Their Surname Only
Clare, who runs a second blog called This Mummy’s Always Write, also puts name tags in her kids’ school shirts, trousers and so on.
This is handy to prevent their clothes going home in the hands of other kids, but Clare has another tip too.
“When naming clothes why not think about name tags which just include a surname. This means clothes can be passed down to siblings without having to be renamed or removing name labels.”
Always Buy the Same Style of Socks
Sometimes the simple tips can be just as effective. Sarah from Boo, Roo and Tigger Too suggests buying only one style of socks for your child.
“Consider purchasing the same style of socks for your child to use throughout the school year.
“This will not only make your life easier when you come to wash and pair them up, but will hopefully ease any stresses over your child wanting the pair with the bows on or the ones with the red toes.
“With the same socks to select from, even the odd socks will eventually end up as a pair.”
Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves – that’s what we always say. Also, as you’ll see on our printable kids’ foot sizing page, it’s important that your children are wearing the socks that they’d normally wear for school when they get their feet measured. Otherwise you run the risk of getting the wrong size.
Save Small Amounts of Money in Advance
It might be too late to apply this tip for September 2017, however, as Alex from Young Mummy Survival Guide says, a little goes a long way.
“My daughter isn’t due to start school until September 2018, a whole year from now, but it is something I have been worried about, I’d say since last September.
“In light of the increasing costs, I have planned that after our wedding in October, I will start putting extra money away each month to start a small pot for school uniform, shoes and supplies for next year.
“Saving in advance is a tip I suggest for a range of things. If you know something like this is coming up, it gives you time to plan. Even if it’s just £1 in the money box each week, it will all add up in the end.
“Again, I think it is fabulous that this is being addressed. I’ve seen various media reports relating to how we have children living in poverty in the UK and it seems a shame that the pressures on their family are being increased over something so small such as school uniforms.
“Surely if they are smartly dressed and prepared to work and try hard, that is all that matters?”
Shop as Early as Possible in the Summer
Jo from Slummy Single Mummy advises parents to strike while the iron is hot, and buy – or at least, organise – what you need as early as possible.
“My top tip is to not leave everything until those last hectic few days before you go back to school. I’ve done the big annual school uniform shop for years now and I’ve yet to quite get the hang of this one myself!
“It’s so much less stressful if you can get organised earlier in the holidays. The things you want are far more likely to be available at the price you want, and you won’t end up having to overspend on basics like shirts at the uniform shop because you didn’t get to the supermarket in time.”
If you shop earlier in summer, you’ll not only have more to choose from, but you can lessen the effect on your finances by spreading the cost over several months.
To remove the risk from shopping too early, we were pleased to launch our Growth Spurt Guarantee back in July. Our promise is that any unworn shoes bought between the 1st of the month through to August 11th can be exchanged if they no longer fit, until September 10th!
Are there any other tips you swear by when it comes to the back-to-school shop? We’d love for you to share them with us over on our Facebook page, today!