Buying your Daughter’s First School Uniform, on a Budget

Shopping for your daughter’s first school uniform is probably the only time you’ll get excited about buying her school supplies, because once the first year is over and done with, you’ll probably be more concerned about how much you’re spending rather than how cute and adorable she looks. Many parents are on a budget from the very beginning and, even if you’re not, being sensible about your purchases is still good practice.

Don’t think that once you’ve done the back to school shop, that’s it for another year, either! Their uniform and school supplies will need to be topped up throughout the year, so sticking to a budget from the start means you won’t have to spend over the odds on their school gear annually.

Make sure that you understand the school’s dress code before you begin shopping for school skirts, blouses, polo shirts and dresses. Every school has a different policy and different colour schemes to abide by and, while there are some great value alternatives to what the specialist suppliers provide, some schools are a lot more stringent on what can and can’t be worn. Check whether skirts and dresses need to be grey, black or navy for example and, once you know, you can take a look at school skirts to help keep you within a tight budget.

Only buy the minimum if you can help it. This will be a personal choice because different families operate in different ways, but the bottom line is that the less you buy, the less you spend! If you do the laundry often, for example, your daughter won’t need to have a skirt or dress for every single day. School skirts don’t have to be washed as often as sweaty shirts, so you’ll only need a couple to last the week. It all depends on the child though – if your little girl loves to be active during playtime, you may need more than the minimum – it depends how grubby she gets and how often you want to be doing the washing!

You could always opt to buy second hand if you prefer. Make sure you do check that the clothes are in good condition though! Alternatively, if your child has older siblings, you may have some school uniform hidden away from when they were her age that you can get a second lease of life from.

There’s a fine balance between sticking to a low budget and buying uniform that they will feel comfortable wearing. Polyester and acrylic, for example, can be cheaper than cotton, but the fabrics aren’t as breathable, so bear this in mind. Similarly, shoes that have manmade uppers are far more affordable than leather shoes, but you’ll find that leather shoes last longer and are more comfortable for daily use.

It’s also advisable to buy your daughter’s uniform in a size up, because she’ll continue to grow dramatically until she’s a teenager. Make sure that there’s room to grow so that you’re not buying uniforms every couple of months and bear in mind that things can be altered at the hemline to make them last for longer. Iron on hemming tape is an easy and affordable shortcut for busy parents!

Your daughter’s first day at school will be a special memory forever, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start as you mean to go on and stick to a small budget – it’s easy when you know how!

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.