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The start of August can be a good time to buy new school uniform, because often the cheapest options (including Aldi and Lidl's full uniform from £4ish) are only available for a limited time...

Generally, stores sell items in multipacks and it isn't possible to buy them individually. When we quote prices in our headlines we take this into account and quote the cost of buying a full school uniform using multipacks. Most of the stores below offer other school clothing items such as P.E. kit, but we've focused on the basics to show a clear-cut comparison.

Before buying, check your child's school doesn't require you to get uniform from a specific supplier. Some schools won't allow generic/supermarket uniform – we're not happy about this – but we hope the below is still of some use.

    • On a low income? You could get as much as £200 a year towards the cost of your child's school uniform. For full info and to check if you're eligible, see our school uniform grant guide.

    • Look out for uniform in the sales. We've seen Sainsbury's Tu offer 25% off several times a year. M&S tends to run 20% off school uniform in June, but its big summer clearance has been known to include the odd school item too.
    • Get it second-hand for free or under a fiver. Check Facebook for groups dedicated to selling or giving away uniform that's been outgrown; your child's school might even have its own group. Your Parent Teacher Association (PTA) may be open to setting up a 'swap shop', if it doesn't already run one. If all else fails, there's Freecycle, Facebook Marketplace, eBay and charity shops.
    • Check outlet stores. Clarks Outlet* has many pairs at 50% off online and in store. M&S Outlet consists of hundreds of stores offering 30% off or more.
    • Help uniform last longer. Add name tags so items don't get lost. Learn to sew hems and make small repairs. Get your kids to change out of their uniform as soon as they get home to reduce wear 'n' tear.

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