August Bank Holiday is just around the corner and that means just one thing … it’s almost time for the annual back-to-school panic. If you have one or more children heading to school in just a few short weeks, chances are you’re already feeling a little frazzled at the prospect. From the early mornings and rushed breakfasts to the back to school shopping trips, life can suddenly get pretty stressful as summer comes to an end and the new school year creeps in.

One of the biggest sources of stress for many parents is the shopping for essential back to school items. Last year, a study by the Children’s Society found that a staggering one million families around the country were getting in to debt in order to provide school uniforms for their children. Parents of primary school children can expect to pay an average of £255 for school uniform while the cost of secondary school uniform averages £340 per year, per child.

If you’re worrying about the cost of equipping your children with everything they need for the new academic year, read on for our back-to-school money saving tips…

  1. Seek out swap shops and school uniform recycling services

If you are struggling to make ends meet, you aren’t alone. Even if budget isn’t an issue, you may want to be more sustainable and feel bad about letting perfectly good clothes go to landfill. The good news is there are tens of thousands of other parents all around the country in the same boat and, as we all become more aware of the importance of recycling and reusing, a number of dedicated new schemes for school uniforms have sprung up.

Before you chuck out last year’s perfectly good but now too small shirts or trousers, search online for an online swap shop. In Manchester, there is an organisation called Natalie’s School Uniform Exchange, which allows parents to cut down on the cost of a new school uniform and help the wider community at the same time. The organisation helps parents trade outgrown uniforms for the correct size for just £1.

If you head to Facebook and search for ‘school uniform exchange’ you should find several groups in your local area pop up. If there is nothing near you, why not consider starting your own swap with other local parents?

  1. Compare prices online

If you need to invest in something fairly expensive such as a new tablet or laptop to help your child with their school assignment, use a comparison tool to check you’re getting the best possible price before simply adding what looks like a good deal to your basket. You may find better prices online or discover bundles such as laptop with case and printer which are better value.

  1. Search for vouchers

There are hundreds of voucher code sites online and they can be a treasure trove of savings. Before you buy something, do a Google search for retailer + voucher code and see if you can save money with free shipping or money off.

  1. Buy supermarket own brand

When you’re doing your weekly supermarket shop, don’t forget to head down the stationary aisle. Many supermarkets have their own brand lines which are significantly cheaper with notepads, folders, pens, highlighters and post-its which are significantly cheaper than branded versions.