WITH less than a week left of the summer holidays, most parents are ready to wave their little ones goodbye and send them back to school for some peace and quiet.
However, with the cost of living crisis only getting worse, being able to afford the back to school costs will be a challenge for many households.
In fact, it’s been revealed that parents fork out as much as £337 a year on school uniforms!
To help families keep the costs down, experts at MoneyTransfers.com has listed seven tips for getting the most out of your child’s school uniform when money is tight.
Tackle the stains, don’t avoid them
As a parent, there is nothing more frustrating than when your child comes home from school with stains all over their new clothes.
However, it’s inevitable so the best thing you can do is learn how to get rid of them effectively.
Whether it’s ink, crayon, mud or grass, there are a few easy cleaning hacks you should try out first before you throw any stained clothing in the bin.
Ink stains: Spray it with hairspray first and then blot over the area with a paper towel.
However, if it’s a Biro pen instead, then these stains can be removed if you lightly soak the item of clothing in some milk.
Crayon stains: Try freezing the fabric first, this will harden the crayon and then you should be able to scrape off any excess crayon. Once this is done, turn on an iron at a medium heat setting.
While it’s heating up, put a paper towel on top of and underneath the stained area and gently press the warm iron over it. Hopefully, it should move the stain onto the paper towel instead.
Mud stains: When it comes to playtime at school, this is where the real damage happens.
As soon as you see any mud on your child’s uniform, soak it immediately in a cold bowl of water with three tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda.
Leave this soaking for an hour and then wash as normal.
Grass stains: With this type of stain it’s important to dab over the area with methylated spirits and then let it dry out completely. Once it dries, you can then throw it in your washing machine.
Changing out of school uniform at home
Get into the habit of telling your child to change out of their school uniform as soon as they walk through the front door.
This will stop their uniform from wearing out as fast and prevent it from getting even messier at home after school.
Wash clothing correctly
How you wash and dry clothes is the key to helping them stand the test of time.
If you didn’t already know, then different materials respond in different ways when they’re washed, dried or ironed so be sure to always check the label first to avoid any damage.
Aim for 30 degrees with your washes as this lower temperature will not only help clothes to last longer but it will cut down your energy bill too.
Also, only use the tumble dryer if you really need to as drying your clothes out on the line will help maintain their quality better.
Another positive that comes from line drying is that the sun will help to brighten any white items of clothing and keep them looking fresh, which is a useful hack to bear in mind when the polo shirts start looking a bit grey.
Pass any school uniform down
If you have more than one child who attends the same school, then passing the school uniform down between siblings is a great way to save money each year.
Especially when children grow so fast, it can get very expensive trying to keep up with the jumps in sizing.
It’s also worth asking around at the school for parents who are wanting to get rid of any hand-me-downs, especially for children who are moving schools and will no longer require the same uniform anymore. In fact, you’re probably doing them more of a favour.
Some schools and local Facebook groups even organise uniform swaps and sales, where you can pick up uniform pieces for bargain prices.
Get creative with repairs and alterations
Rather than throwing out any school uniform that has a button missing or a small hole for example, you could try to repair it instead – doing this is often much easier than you realise and a more sustainable way to extend the use of clothing.
Also, if certain school clothes are too big or have become too small after a recent growth spurt, rather than buying a brand new uniform that fits perfectly, get them altered and that’ll do the job. Some alterations, for example letting down a hemline, won’t take much practice at all.
Look out for deals
If you have more than one child, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for bundle deals and offers if you’re out shopping for new school uniforms, as this will help to knock off a quid or two. All of the major supermarkets which have clothing ranges in store offer discounts on uniforms each year, so look out for those and know when to shop.
Use name tags
Last but not least, once the school uniform is ready to go for another year, the most important thing you can do next is to put name tags on every piece of clothing your child wears.
This may seem like an unnecessary step but something as simple as this can prevent any uniform from getting lost forever and needing to be replaced.
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