Back to School

Back To School - 650 X 300

The Children’s Society estimates that parents pay about £2.1 billion on school uniforms every year, with parents of secondary school children paying the most; an average of £316 per child! The advice you are about to read could help you send the kids back to school without spending a small fortune.

Good planning and savvy shopping can make a huge difference to the back-to-school costs, so here are a few of our suggestions for Back to School shopping:

Do an audit. What uniform and supplies do you have for your children already? Does it still fit? If not, are there older children in the family that could hand their uniform down? Do you have uniform that you could pass to family or friends?

Make a list. Decide what you must buy, make a list and stick to it. Uniforms are not the only big expense and this is especially true if your child’s school requires specialist items, such as branded schoolbags, coats and sports equipment. A list will make sure you don’t forget anything that’s essential, give you a good idea of what it will cost and stop you over buying, which is so easy. (especially if you’re shopping with the kids!)

Buy pre-loved items. Children and adolescents can grow so fast that it feels like you’re always buying new clothes to try and keep up. The flipside to this is that barely-worn clothes are always looking for new homes. Some schools organise ‘swap shops’ where uniforms and other required supplies can be exchanged for bigger sizes or bought at a vastly reduced price. If your school doesn’t offer this service, perhaps you could encourage them as it can be invaluable for parents. Why not see if there’s a social media group for parents at your children’s school, as this is a great place to exchange or sell of school uniforms and other supplies.

Find out if the school logo is essential. Items featuring the school badge need to be bought from specialist shops and are typically more expensive. Some schools are relaxed about items featuring their badge, whereas some stipulate it must be on nearly every item of clothing. Find out the case at your school and shop accordingly – unbranded gym kits, shirts or polo tops may be acceptable – and will be widely available on the High Street and in supermarkets – saving you money

Go last minute shopping. it goes against all the instincts of the organised parent, but an end-of-summer growth spurt can mean money wasted on shoes and clothes purchased six weeks earlier. If your child is rapidly growing, leave it as late as you can. The downside will be that the shops will be very, very full but the upside is that you may be able to pick up some late summer bargains.

You don’t have to do all this planning and shopping alone - get your children involved! Buying all the uniform and supplies for going back to school is a great opportunity to teach children and adolescents about smart shopping, financial planning and budgets. Work together to make your list, give them a budget and take them shopping. With just a little supervision you can help them learn the skills they need to buy all of what they need, and a little of what they want.

A strong understanding of personal finance is one of the most important gifts we can give to our children, and there’s no better way to help them by opening their own Sharia compliant savings account with Al Rayan Bank. With a 1.30% target profit rate on our Young Person's Notice Savings Account, your child can learn the benefits of saving, and the discipline of planning, and make a healthy return on their savings.

As well as uniform budgeting, September is a good time to consider the other costs of the school year, like transport, school meals and school trips. To help you save for these, you may want to consider opening an Al Rayan Bank savings account yourself.

Al Rayan Bank has a range of market-leading savings accounts with competitive expected profit rates – all generated from ethical activities which are allowed under Sharia. You can find out everything you need to know here.

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