School uniforms are required at most private schools and fast growing trend in many public schools. Uniforms however, can greatly add to the cost of preparing your child for school. There are options available to save money. If your child is attending a school where school uniforms have been a tradition, see if older students have outgrown their uniforms. Inquire through the school’s office or the parent teacher club for any uniform items that might be available from other students who can no longer wear them. Consignment stores and thrift shops in your community are also likely to have used school uniform items. Become a trendsetter in your school by setting up program to pass on school uniform items if no such program exists.
Stay away from school uniform specific retailers. Because of the captive market, they are rarely the cheapest alternative. Instead, try looking at some of the common bargain retailers. Stores like Target, JC Penney, and Sears have standard uniform items. Pants at such retailers will run $10-15 especially when on sale. While some stores have back-to-school sales, the better savings may be during the off-season. Plan ahead and purchase pants and tops one to two sizes larger depending on the growth rate and age of your child.
Keep it simple. While some school uniform options include jumpers and skirts for girls, sweaters, vests, and jackets, it is best to stick with the most basic items. Pants and shirts in the conservative colors of your school uniform can be used at other times. Skirts and dresses are not as likely to become dirty through play at recess. When the option is there to go with plaid or solid, buy the plaid or patterned uniform item. It can often be worn twice before needing a wash reducing cleaning costs and time, and wear on the fabric. Wherever possible, buy the next size up if it is not too untidy in fit. By allowing for some growing room, your child will get more use out of the uniform clothing.
Purchase only what you need at the moment. It isn’t necessary to buy an entire wardrobe of clothes at the beginning of the school year. Children can grow quickly at times. Get just enough of the basic items to be able to dress your child between loads of laundry. By the time it is wearing out, your child will likely need a new size or the weather will change and you’ll be looking for a sweater or long sleeved shirt to add to the collection keeping your student well dressed and your budget in check for the entire school year.