Easy ways to save money when buying school uniforms

Buying school uniforms for primary and secondary school children can be expensive. But there are some things you can do to manage the cost. 

Each school year parents count the cost of sending their children to school. Whether its uniforms, lunches, transport or books… the costs can all add up.

The Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2023* is annual research that looks at the cost of children’s education in Ireland. The research also highlights ways parents can manage the back to school budget. 

When it comes to the cost of clothing, parents spend on average €166 on shoes and €199 a year on uniforms for one child in primary school. For children attending secondary school that figure increases with parents spending €303 on uniforms and €243 on shoes. 

Here are some handy tips to help you keep the cost of uniforms down:

  1. If you’re entitled to the back to school allowance, avail of it. More information on this allowance is available on the Department of Social Protection website.
  2. Do you have older children? If in good condition, siblings’ hand-me-downs might be suitable.
  3. Early purchasing or buying out of the traditional back to school season could save you money. Keep an eye out for discounts and sales.
  4. Can you buy a generic jumper and iron on the school crest? This could save you money if you’re children are required to wear a brand jumper.
  5. Label the uniform with your child’s name so if anything gets lost it is more likely to be returned to them.
  6. Buy uniforms a size or two up in anticipation of your children growing.
  7. Buy second hand if you can.

Cost of Education Calculator

Parents can take some measures to reduce the cost of uniforms. Other solutions to minimising the financial burden of children's education is early planning and financial saving.

Parents can use Zurich's Cost of Education Calculator to work out the annual and lifetime costs of sending children to secondary school and the Cost of College Calculator for third level costs.

Saving for a child’s future

Because the cost of education is high and increases over the years, it make sense to plan ahead, budget and save.

With a Regular Savings plan you can gradually build up the funds necessary to support your children's education.

The table below illustrates just how much regular savings can grow with a Zurich LifeSave Savings Plus plan. For example, if you saved the Government child benefit of €140 per month for five years (as of July 2023) from when your child was born, by the time they started school you could have built up savings of €8,784 in time to fund this crucial stage in their education.

Savings fund after five years starting primary school Savings fund after 12 years starting primary school
Regular contributions of €140 per month* €8,784 €22,589
Lump sum of €10,000 and regular contributions of €140 per month* €19,749 €35,159

A gross investment return of 4.6% per annum is assumed for the 5 year savings fund and 4.6% per annum for the 12 year savings fund. We have assumed that on death, encashment, partial encashment or assignment of the policy or on each 8th policy anniversary, tax is deduced on the gains made at the current rate of taxation, being 41%. A government insurance levy (currently 1% as at July 2022 and may change in the future) applies to this policy. The contribution amounts above are inclusive of this levy. No surrender penalties apply. An annual management charge of 1.35% and an allocation rate of 101% apply. The information contained herein is based on Zurich Life's understanding of current Revenue practice as of July 2023 and may change in the future.   

*Source: Zurich Cost of Education Survey 2023

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