This is the second of two articles about getting your kids ready for school on a budget.

Secondary uniform costs can reach into the middle hundreds with the addition of specific sports kits, stationery, extra shoes and school branded skirts, blazers and jumpers.

You might think you’ll get away with only buying one set at the beginning of their secondary years, but teens grow and they grow fast meaning you’ll constantly be investing.  But, there are ways you can cut costs and still ensure your teen goes to school, happy.

Second-hand sales

Most schools will have an annual second-hand uniform sale.  Use this as an opportunity to stock up on school items you can’t buy cheaper elsewhere like blazers, school jumpers and ties.  If you see a blazer that will be a couple of sizes bigger, still buy it and store it away for next year.  You may not have saved this year, but at least you’ll be ahead for the next one.

A lot of schools PTAs now have Facebook groups and linked to these are second hand uniform sales.  If your school doesn’t already have one, why not suggest it.  Funds can often be split between the seller and the school meaning the PTA receives much needed funds that go back into the school and the parents receive great items at much more affordable prices.

It’s not just the schools though that may have second hand uniform items, check the local charity shops, online auction sites like Gumtree or Preloved.  Even sites like Freecycle can offer great uniform bargains.

Local Facebook buying and selling sites

Facebook isn’t just for catching up with friends and following your favourite bloggers and celebrities.  Almost all local areas now have their own buying and selling Pages allowing parents to sell second-hand items which can often include school uniform, trainers and shoes as well as school bags.

Keep an eye and if you’re looking for something in particular post an ISO (in search of) request.  If you’re not already a member of any buying and selling sites simply type in your local town with the words buying and selling next to it, you’ll be sure to find a variety of pages with sellers nearby.

Big brands

All the brands teens love to wear to school are incredibly expensive and the pressure to keep up appearances can leave your bank balance significantly reduced.  With branded coats costing in excess of £60, bags around £40 and trainers from £50-100 getting into the big brands at an early age can leave parents feeling trapped under the pressure to fit in.

However, there are ways to ensure your child can still have the brands they desire at much lower costs.  Facebook buying and selling sites offer a great way of picking up branded clothing at a very reduced price.  Pick up the Joules coat they’ve been lusting after all season at less than half price or the Ted Baker bag, Nike trainers or Superdry coat.  Simply type in ‘second-hand Joules’ (or Ted Baker), or the brand with ‘buy and sell’, pre-loved or even just the brand name and filter by groups, almost all of the big name retailers will have a second hand site with most sellers willing to post if you’ll cover postage.

Sale sites like VentePrivee, Secret Sales and Brand Alley also offer brands at up to 70% off.  Be aware that delivery times can be longer, but you’ll often find fantastic savings here on top branded items.

You can also use sites like eBay, Gumtree or Shpock to hunt for second-hand items with most having only been worn a handful of times.

If your teen insists on a new item, use sites like VoucherCcodes or HotUKDeals to search out the best bargains and prices on the web.  There are hundreds of deal hunters scouring the web for deals, vouchers and code stacks you can use to save you money.  Along with using loyalty cards like Nectar, money-off vouchers, free delivery and the outlets for the main retailers you can pick up a bargain that your teen will love.

And don’t discount catalogue sites like La Redoute, they’ll often stock top branded likes and regularly have huge sales of over 40% off everything including big brands.

If you’re willing to put in a bit of research time, you’ll take the pressure off your bank account.