Save money on back to school buys

No sooner have the summer holidays begun than it seems the time to get all that back to school shopping done is upon us once again. Check out our checklist to make sure your little ones are ready for the new term, along with our top tips for bagging a bargain.

Best back to school buys

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The proper uniform is essential, of course, and with children growing so quickly, it's likely you will need to re-stock. It's an idea to ask the kids to try on more expensive items such as blazers and other branded items as they may still last another year.

Thankfully when it comes to the day-to-day essentials, supermarkets and high street stores have some great deals. Tesco, for example, two packs of school shirts from £3.50, with trousers and skirts from just £3, with the likes of Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons all offering similarly good deals.

If you are really struggling with the cost, it is worth checking whether your child's school holds a second-hand uniform sale and those on a very low income are sometimes entitled to a grant so check with your local authority.

No doubt there are children out there who are less than enthused at the prospect of going back to school. But few will turn down a shopping trip, even if it is for pencils, rubbers and protractors.

Stationery stores such as WHSmith and Staples are crammed to the rafters with 'back to school essentials' at this time of year and happily, most are offering fabulous deals. The WHSmith website even has a handy list of who needs what, depending on their age group and key stage, so you can be sure there's nothing missing.

'Back to school' packs that include a range of items in one cheap bundle are also worth looking at. No doubt the children will be clamouring for branded items of some sort but if you can buy the essentials cheap, you can then afford to splash out on branded backpacks, lunch boxes or folders.

Sports equipment and clothing can be pricey too but large stores often have deals on at this time of year. For example, at JD Sports you can get your hands on a polo shirt, jacket, hoody and joggers all for £40, while Sports Direct have some bargains on offer, from socks and trainers to backpacks and tennis rackets.

It's no secret that technology has become a mainstay of the modern classroom, and that can land parents with a hefty back-to-school bill. In fact, recent research revealed that the average school backpack now holds an astonishing £550-worth of gear on average.

These days parents are often expected to invest in a tablet computer for their school-age children, and the costs can quickly mount up. Some schools operate a system whereby you can rent a tablet via a monthly payment, while those that insist on kids taking tablets into the classroom can usually supply a discounted product.

Having said that, you're likely still looking at hundreds of pounds for classroom tech, so it's worth considering alternative means by which to get your hands on those gadgets. The chances are you know plenty of other mums, perhaps with children of different ages. Organise a get-together for parents, where items that might have been upgraded or are now no longer needed can by older children can be swapped or bought at a knock-down price.

How do you save money on back to school buys? Let us know below...