No shame in second-hand

2014-01-06 00:00

THERE is no shame in scratching around second-hand shops for school uniforms, and online classified websites are turning out to be a goldmine for bargains.

These are some of the tips offered by parents who had to find ways to cut costs when dressing their kids for school.

Well-known personal finance columnist Maya Fisher-French said there is nothing to be embarrassed about if parents buy school uniform at second-hand shops.

As a mother of two school-going children, she has done it many a time.

“I’ve never bought a new blazer in my life for my children,” Fisher-French laughed.

Second-hand school uniforms are being re-sold on online classified websites as well.

Blazers, tunics, girls’ school dresses, trousers, jerseys, tracksuits, caps, schoolbags, sport bags and ties are up for grabs for half the price you’d have to pay in shops.

Fisher-French is also advising parents to take care of their children’s uniform.

White shirts and T-shirts can be soaked in stain remover as this keeps them looking white longer.

“It’s also better to buy now before we run out of money because most people got paid on December 16 and be careful when buying on credit.”

She also recommends speaking to friends and chatting about swopping children’s uniforms instead of buying brand new items.

“Parents don’t have to be embarrassed about it and see it as poverty … and that they’ll be seen like they can’t afford it.”

She views recycling as a great way to save money while saving the environment as well.

There are also a lot of big specials after Christmas that people can look out for.

At the weekend, parents were already lining up to buy school uniforms for their children for when the schools re-open in two weeks’ time.

Durban’s biggest schoolwear store Gem Schoolwear was so packed on Friday that parents had to form a long queue outside.

Store owner Ahmed Pandor said people don’t mind paying extra for good quality.

M. Job, a grandmother, was at the store with her granddaughter Romayne Naidoo, who is going to Grade 4 at St Augustine’s Primary School.

Romayne’s skirt and two short-sleeve white shirts cost her just R190 in total.

However, she said buying uniform at school stores works out cheaper than buying at retail stores.

An unemployed couple from Folweni near Durban have budgeted R1 000 for their daughter who is starting Grade R and were worried that the uniform was too pricey.

Ayanda Nkosi spent about R520 for her daughter’s skirt, shirts and jersey and she still had items on the list that needed to be bought.

According to Nkosi, the best way to get a good deal is by going to different stores and comparing prices.

Bongiwe Mtolo, whose son attends Grade 1 at Briardene Primary School, said last year she bought her son uniforms in a bigger size while he was still in Grade R to make sure he didn’t outgrow the uniform too quickly.

She said she was glad that her son’s uniform still fits this year.

Dad Sphiwe Mkhize said he used his bonus money to purchase his daughter’s uniform.

Governing Body Foundation CEO Tim Gordon said a group of parents can collectively buy and re-sell uniforms that their children have outgrown.

His other tips included parents avoiding branded stores and doing a lot of shopping around and comparing prices.

“Some parents will struggle [to find enough money to buy uniforms] … this is when trading or selling your old or ill-fitting uniforms for ones that fit better can be thought about,” Gordon added.

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