Cut the cost of going back to school

23 August 2010

Going back to school can be an expensive business - especially if you have more than one child. The good news is, there are ways and means to cut the costs...

Cheap lunches

Rather than buying pre-packed sandwiches and snacks, homemade lunches are easier on the purse strings as well as on the waistline.

Another idea is to replace crisps and chocolate bars with fruit and carrot or cucumber sticks.

Avoid the school run

Walk and use public transport if possible but if driving is necessary go to to find car-sharing schemes in your local area.

Schools have to provide free transport if you live further away than the 'statutory walking distance'.

This may not be the same as the quickest road route because its focus is on safety. The statutory walking distance is two miles for children under eight, or three miles for years eight and over. Apply for travel support through your local authority at

Cheap uniform

Kitting your child out in full school uniform can be costly, not to mention stressful. Supermarkets now sell bargain uniform ranges: Tesco offers a whole uniform, consisting of a polo shirt, sweater and trousers or skirt for £3.75, while the Matalan range costs £4.

It's also worth asking neighbours and friends for other hand-me-downs and finding out if the school is holding a jumble sale.                                                                                               

Find cheap course books

When buying books, you can make huge savings online. and sell books for as little as a penny (excluding postage).

It's worth contacting past students from the local school or college as they may be happy to get rid of old textbooks collecting dust at home.

Look out for deals

There are lots of offers available – the trick is to keep an eye out for them. Apple offers anybody in full-time education a 10% discount on laptops.

Sixteen-year-olds can cut travel costs by a third with a Young Person's Railcard. Hunt for deals at

Student discounts

The NUS Extra student discount card is available to those aged 16 or over and in full-time education. The £10 card gives discounts on a range of brands, from Topshop to McDonalds and from Amazon to Superdrug.

Find out more at

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