School bill hell: average parent spends £64,000

FLAT BROKE: How to spread the cost of schooldays
FLAT BROKE: How to spread the cost of schooldays
Promoted by Quidco

We look at some of the best ways to save cash before your little cherubs head back to the classroom in September

For many parents, taking pride and an interest in their child’s education can be seriously overshadowed by the stress of myriad costs involved.

From stationery offers to childcare vouchers, parents can help cut back on school costs

From stationery offers to childcare vouchers, parents can help cut back on school costs

According to one survey, the cost of a child’s first year at a state primary school is £2,744, while their first year at secondary school will set you back a whopping £6,794 – once you look into private schools, those costs balloon exponentially.

From day one to the end of their secondary education, the average cost of a child’s school career is a frankly terrifying £64,000.

Saving money all year round can help. Money saving experts Quidco, the cashback site, have come up with some frugal tips to help save pennies and pounds for every aspect of school life. They’ll also reward any new members who sign up here today with £15 cashback to kick-start their savings.


Depending on the distance you live from your child’s school – over two miles for under eights, over three for over eights – your local authority may be obliged to provide free transport for your child to get to and from school. This also applies if your child has special needs, or if the route to and from their school is deemed not safe to walk. For more information, consult your local council.

Uniform costs

Yes, the prospect of your kid’s first uniform is adorable, but don’t get tempted to buy every monogrammed item you see – just buy a couple of full sets and resolve to wash throughout the week. You don’t need a fresh set for every day.

Spread the cost of the purchases through the year. Buying a half size up may drive your kid a bit nuts, but is a good way of ensuring they’ll get the most wear out of an item as them grow.

Label, label, label. Clearly name every single item of your child’s wardrobe. Jumpers in particular go missing with alarming frequency, and the odds of seeing an errant sweater return increase if it is clearly tagged.

Matalan offers school uniform options and accessories from as low at £2, as well as a range of real leather school footwear, meaning it is possible to kit your kid out for less than £20.

Marks and Spencer has a range of smart, durable uniform multipacks available at a reasonable cost, as well.

Both of these retailers offer cashback via Quidco so you’re able to earn money on your back to school shopping. If you’re new to Quidco and shop with Matalan, remember you’ll be eligible for that £15 cashback bonus too.

School lunches

In England, schools are obliged to provide free school meals to reception year, Year 1 and Year 2 pupils.

Depending on your financial situation, your child may qualify for one free hot midday meal.

Lunchboxes and backpacks

When it comes to selecting a backpack for your kid, don’t be tempted to buy them a branded one – while they may love Princess Elsa out of all proportion this month, next month Frozen may be passé. Something more generic will see several year’s use.

Marks and Spencer offer a range of durable, handsome schoolbags starting at £10, as well as a selection of insulated, moisture resistant lunchboxes.

If you do want to get your kids something gimmicky, themed stationery is cheap enough to replace throughout the year. WH Smith offers range of alternately trendy and kitchy pens, papers, exercise books and ringbinders, and currently offer cashback if purchased through Quidco. Remember you can get that £15 cashback bonus here too which could mean a free pencil case or stationery.

After-school care

If you work, earn less than £100,000 a year and your child is under 12, you’ll likely qualify for the Tax Free Childcare scheme. This provides a 20% tax break on child-care costs for out-of-school hours and can result in a huge saving.

For year-round money saving tips on everything from school essentials to school holiday indulgences, visit Quidco, the cashback expert today. Their average member earns £305 in cashback each year with some members reporting over £1000 in annual earnings, all by simply visiting Quidco before shopping online.