Back to school title with stationary in the background

Save on waste, save on money when back to school! Read on for cost saving tips.

  1. School Uniform

School uniform can be expensive but there are ways to save money!

  • Does it still fit? Then consider reusing them this school year!
  • Following manufacturer’s instructions when washing will keep them in good condition for longer. Also making small repairs to existing clothes is a good way to extend their lifespan.
  • However if you can’t mend or sew yourself find out where your nearest Repair Cafe is and see if they can help fix it or even teach you how to!
  • Also if kids have grown like weeds over the summer, consider second-hand, or organising a swap between friends or at school. Try Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or local sites like Nextdoor to see if anyone has spares.
  • If your uniform is beyond repair, consider donating the textiles and perhaps even get some extra cash as detailed on

Girl and boy smiling while in school uniform

  1. Reusing school supplies

Resist that pester power! Do they need it? Or do they just want that dopamine hit from the joy of new stuff?

  • You might be surprised how much is hiding away at home! Have your kids got boxes full of gifts from relatives like notepads or pens and pencils they’ve never used?
    Pencil cases, backpacks or lunchboxes, school items that are still in good condition, can be reused again this year.
  • If you do need to replace items, consider durable, long-lasting items that can withstand daily wear, such as metal bottles and metal lunch boxes. Durable items will save money in the long run. Some items such as backpacks even have lifetime guarantees!
  • Refillable pens are a good alternative that save on plastic and long term cost.
  • Items made from recycled or reused materials are also a good alternative, such as pencils and backpacks.
  • Alternatively look for good second-hand items on Ebay, Depop or Vinted, or visit a car boot sale or jumble trail for bargains!
  • When you do buy new items label them, this can help you save your kid’s from getting lost at school.

Rucksack with stationary coming out of it, over a yellow background.

  1. Zero waste school lunches

Lunch times can be a big source of waste due to food packaging. Some easy swaps can help cut down on waste.

  • Buying things in bulk reduces unnecessary packaging, portion out a with small reusable tubs. (Like cutting cheese from a larger block, spooning out yogurt from a larger tub into a small reusable pot.)
  • A reusable water bottle can be refilled throughout the day.
  • Beeswax wraps and reusable bags and tubs can be a good alternative to cling film and tin foil.
  • Reusing food pots like that takeaway tubs.
  • Or even check out your nearest community fridge

Check out our Zero Waste Lunchbox for tasty lunchbox ideas!

Three children smiling while having a packed lunch

  1. Repurpose

Get crafting with your kids, have fun, save a ton!

  • Items from around the house can be reused, like making a plastic bottle into a pencil case or repurposing a jam jar into a pen jar.
  • See 16 DIY ways for back to school from this Youtuber.

  1. Recycle 

A piece of equipment or clothing that can’t be used by someone else? Recycle it!

  • Check if your local kerbside collection accepts clothes and textiles – check your local collection here. Textiles can also be taken to textile banks and HWRCs(Household Waste and Recycling Centres).

For more ideas see 12 smart ways to save money on everyday back-to-school costs | The Independent

Two children with an adult doing arts and crafts

Check out our 3R’s page for more tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle at school and at home.