While hopefully we will have some good summer weather (for a change!), one thing we cannot forget is how quickly that the ‘back to school’ season creeps up on us.
While that will no doubt be one of the last things you (and indeed your kids) want to think about whilst lapping up the last of the summer sun’s precious rays, it cannot be avoided.
Back to school time is generally considered to be quite stressful for parents both in terms of time and money. The very thought of having to march up and down the high streets looking for school uniforms with a troupe of, how shall we say, less than enthusiastic young children in tow, is far from appealing. And then there’s the financial burden as well. Many parents find themselves waking up in a cold sweat at the stresses involved.
Fortunately though, the times are changing for the better as far as back-to-school shopping is concerned, particularly when purchasing new school uniforms. Recently, Minister Bruton announced some cost saving measures for uniforms which should help alleviate the costs associated with this time of year. While not all schools will have had time to implement the changes for the forthcoming school year, hopefully many will have put the new arrangements in place.
One of the main changes set out in the Minister's Circular Letter to schools is that "all elements of a school uniform should be purchasable from various stores" and "Only iron on or sew on crests should be used". Previously some items were being priced at a point which may not fairly have reflected the garments themselves as a monopoly situation existed with regard to some uniforms . Many parents felt under pressure to buy clothing items which they felt were not much better than the generic alternatives, despite costing substantially more.
The introduction of these changes leaves the door open for parents to take advantage of cheaper alternatives such as those school uniforms available at Littlewoods Ireland’s website , which are typically sold in multipacks which provide better value overall.
For example, our 5 packs of polo shirts are generally cheaper than most outlets’ 3 packs – a ‘less for more’ approach to back to school shopping if ever there was one!
Price isn’t the only thing to have been reduced with the move toward non-branded school uniforms. Time spent shopping and overall stress levels are likely to be greatly reduced as a result of this move as well. With websites such as Littlewoods offering a free delivery service, the prices are exactly what they appear to be (there’s nothing worse than seeing a good priced item online, only to get ripped off on the shipping!) and won’t require you to leave your home.
Some sites will also offer credit services, meaning you can pay for your purchases in instalments over time should you not have the cash to hand straight away.
As a final tip for saving money on uniforms at back to school time, don’t forget that you might be eligible for certain benefits in the form of the Back to School Clothing & Footwear Allowance scheme which is run through the Welfare Department. Those eligible for the scheme can save anywhere between €125 and €250 per child off the overall cost of school uniform purchases – with the rise of cheaper generic brands, this could go quite far indeed! Visit Welfare.ie to find out if you are eligible for the scheme.