The end of the summer holidays is coming and it's time to get ready to go back to school! Are you prepared? Because as a parent I'm so ready for my kids to go back to school, but I'll be quite sad to see the sun go back into hibernation for the next 6 months. Before you know it, they'll be playing Christmas music again! Utter madness!
Let's face it, the cost of kids going to school, along with everything else, is going up in price. I know, you're probably sick of hearing it but honestly, I can't believe how much the price of everything has gone up and as usual, I'm on the hunt for a bargain! So, let's dive in! If I'm honest these are really just tips and tricks that I use and I hope they can help you to.
Make a list and you'll feel better
First of all, I strongly recommend using thingstogetme to create a list for all the things you need for your children to go back to school. It helps you get organised, and you can check things off your list as you go. Plus, it is perfect to send to family and friends that want to help. Great Aunt Ida might be able to buy that pencil case and your university bestie might be able to chip in for some school shoes. It's also a great opportunity to remind Godparents of their duties because that's what you made them Godparents for, right? (I'm only joking!) But it is true... if you don't ask, you don't get. Often people want to help but don't know how! Now you can send them a simple link to the list of things you need.
Uniform is the bane of a parent's existence
Now tell me this, why do children have the sheer audacity to keep growing? Why is it that they suddenly have a growth spurt the week before they go back to school?! It's very rude. BUT do not despair! Second-hand and hand-me-down uniform is THE way to go. Vinted has been my saviour for kid's summer clothes and there's always bundles of uniform on the app for a fraction of the cost. Another way to go is make friends with someone who has kids in the years above and ask if they have any hand me downs. Kids get messy at school, so there's no point buying brand new everything if it's going to be stained by half a term. I have a few mum friends where we literally pass the uniform back and forth between us as each child needs it. Plus, you could be making yourself a new friend so it's a win-win. Another bonus is that second hand is better for the environment so you can pat yourself on the back for looking after the world as well as your pocket. However, if second hand is really not your thing, keep an eye out for the back-to-school sales that a lot of supermarkets have. Often if you time it right, you can get discounted uniform in the few weeks before school starts again.
The one thing that often breaks my bank is the school logo sweatshirts, but some schools do lost property sales/give aways. Sometimes they can offer you a discount code for the uniform websites. Check your school newsletters or even ask at the school office. Don't forget to go for a size larger than needed when ordering and that way they'll last that bit longer! I think it's a rite of passage to start the year off with too big uniform because who didn't have to start the school year with rolled up trousers?! If they're little, it's just adorable and if they're older, well, congrats on giving them long lasting embarrassing memories! On a serious note, however, if you're handy with a needle and thread, you can roll up the trousers and put a loose stitch in to hold the roll. Then cut out the stitch as the child grows!
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
Remember sometimes things like pencil cases, back packs and lunchboxes don't need to be new. It's okay to go into a new year with the same one from the year before. If it's still in good shape, consider using it again. It's easy to get caught up in the new year, new stuff cycle but you're still an excellent parent even if the stuff isn't new!
I hate shoe shopping
Shoes are the one thing that always cause us trouble. They're expensive and my kids have wide fit feet so it's hard to not buy them from expensive specific brand shoe shops (Clark's, I'm looking at you). However, the good news is there are outlet stores that do offer shoes for a discounted price. Also, George at Asda often has a great selection for wide fit kids' feet! I highly recommend finding that adorable face you know your parents can't resist, even though your 30 years old, pull out the big pleading eyes and stick out your bottom lip and ask very nicely for them to chip in for school shoes. Practice that face in the mirror, google images of puss in boots (from Shrek!), watch that episode of Bluey where she gets Bingo to make the please face (you all know what I'm talking about) and if that fails, I'm sorry, I'm out of ideas. Good luck!
Quality over quantity!
Sometimes good quality means saving money in the long run. I don't know how many reusable water bottles my kids get through, but it's quite a few. If there's anything worth investing in, it's a bottle that won't get mouldy or chewed through (why must they chew on everything?). Take time to think about what you have to buy a lot of and consider buying a higher quality version that may be expensive in the short term, but in the long term, it's worth it.
Finally, I have written some ideas for inspiration for your thingstogetme back to school list.
Uniform - t shirts, skirts, trousers, shorts, summer dresses, tights, PE tops, school jumpers (don't forget to include the size)
I hope you all have a great start back at school and parents, you're doing great!