Before we get started, just a short note on how we set up our challenge:
Uniforms are usually more expensive the older the age so we allowed an extra €10 per each age range. As girls and boys require different types of uniforms (skirts, pinafores and trousers), there may be differences in price.
Wherever possible, we opted for the most reasonable assortment of clothing items that parents would shop for, so we favoured multi-packs or bought two where possible.
So, with no further ado, here's what we found....
Ok, so Aldi is up first. Obviously it is nearly impossible to beat Aldi on price. We've all seen or heard the reports about how you can pick up a full uniform here for just €5 but we find that parents often buy doubles and most schools require shirts rather than polos so realistically the price is closer to €12, still pretty impressive. However, their color range was rather limited; their jumpers and cardigans only came in red and a very light navy, almost blue. Their shoe selection was excellent though, with girls and boys leather shoes from just €6.99, can't go wrong there! With Aldi coming in more than €40 under budget, you might have a little extra rainy day change.
Giving Aldi a run for there money in the Back to School department is Lidl. There are many ways you can save even more money during your shop at Lidl; for example you can ditch the trousers and opt for their 5 Pack of Jersey Bottoms for just €3.49! Lidl also had a good selection of leather shoes from just €6.99, right on par with Aldi. They also offer up a cheaper canvas shoe option for even cheaper at just 2.49. Lidl uniforms only go up to age 12 and, like Aldi, they too have a limited color range of just red and blue jumpers that seem to be more suited for British schools rather than Irish schools.
Only a little more expensive than its competitiors, Tesco have also come in almost €30 under budget. Tesco clothing items are armed with resilient knees and easy iron technology (we haven't been able to test for ourselves but it sure does sound impressive!) Tesco also had nice styles available in pinafores and skirts with cheaper jersey skirt options too. However, their choices of color in Jumpers and Cardigan were limited to greys and navys. While many products had both sterling and euros price, we found a lot of their items only had the sterling which can lead to a lot of time wasting in checking prices or, even worse, a nasty surprise at the tills!
This is where Aldi falls short as their uniform range only accommodates up to age 11. If you're lucky enough to have a petite child then you might get away with shopping here but if your child is tall for their age then you might have to shop elsewhere. As the Aldi uniform range is quite popular among bargain hunters, there is also a chance that you may not be able to get your child's size before they're all sold out! On the plus side, all of the sizes are the same price so you won't have to do any pesky calculations.
Lidl seem to be having the same sizing issue as Aldi with their sizes only going so far as age 12. Also, the limited range of colors may pose a frustrating problem for parents who need jumpers in colors other than red or navy. However, they do have the same prices on items no matter what their size which is a god send for busy parents trying to get some quick Back to School shopping in. Lidl also had a great selection of stationery like Crayola products from just €1.99.
Tesco prices do change for each age group however they still are quite affordable. Again, the limited choice of colours in jumper and cardigans can be a deal breaker for some parents, however, their range of pleated skirts, front zip pinafores and trousers with adjustable waistlines and tough knees are worth a look if you have boisterous kids who often come home with holes in their knees!
Unfortunately, Aldi currently only have sizes in School Uniforms available up to age 11 howver they do have plenty of stationery and lunch boxes you can pick up for your older child.
Lidl too only accomodate up to age 12 in their school uniform range. Like Aldi, there are still plenty of bargains to be made at Lidl, like an assorted lunch box set we spotted for just €2.49.
Again, Tesco come in well under budget and with some nice quality clothing in multiple styles. They also had a great range of shoes (€4-€20), winter jackets (€21-€25) and schoolbags that will make Back to School shopping a cinch with everything in one place.