After an uncharacteristically 'sunny' British summer the time has come once again to turn our attention to the beginning of another school year.
Preparing to send the little ones off to school can be a daunting undertaking – not least for those sending a child off to school for the very first time. From uniforms to gadgets to the humble lunchbox there is a bewildering amount of things to remember.
While you may think you've got it all sorted there are a few things that you may have forgotten:
Often the biggest nightmare of the back to school rush is the hunt for the dreaded school uniform. Every school has its own strict guidelines on what is and what is not acceptable. Add to that the 'I'm not wearing that factor and the fact that kids outgrow uniforms at a rate of knots and the simple act of buying clothes becomes a veritable minefield!
The demise of Woolworths has left a gap on the high street for affordable, good quality schoolwear. Fortunately though recent years have seen the major supermarkets enter into a heated price war over school uniforms – and this is understandably great news for parents.
Tesco are offering a third off all school clothes and free delivery (for a limited time) when you order from clothingattesco.com. There are also amazing bargains to be had in store including trousers from £3, skirts form £2.50 and polo shirts from an unbelievable 50p each!
They have also announced that they will be launching a school blazer and badges service soon. This has caused no end of controversy and hand wringing from the schools and outdated local retailers that monopolised this business all these years but it's certainly going to make things a lot easier for parents in the years to come.
Tesco are also offering a mix-and-match 3 for the price of 2 on lunch boxes, stationery and a myriad of other school essentials. Perfect.
ASDA are also offering free delivery on schoolwear orders at George.com. Just spend £5 or more and enter the code 'school2' on the checkout page. Their offers are great too including boys' jumpers from £2 in a range of school colours, girls' cardigans from £3 and 2 packs of shirts for just £2.
The trick with schoolwear is to shop around. Take time to consider paying slightly more for something that is going to last longer, growth spurts notwithstanding and spend your money accordingly.
And don't forget the sports kit! The supermarkets get a real run for their money on the high street from the major sports retailers and you may well find that trainers especially are something that your little angels won't let you scrimp on!
Be Safe, Be Seen
Road safety is something you really should bear in mind when shopping for schoolwear.
Anything you can do to make sure that your child is safer on their journey to and from school will give you the peace of mind that money can't buy.
When choosing a jacket go for something light in colour. This will make your child far easier to see in the increasingly dark nights. A pair of light gloves will make them even more visible and these can be picked for under a pound in most childrens' clothes shops.
Instead of a shoulder bag you should consider a rucksack with reflective strips on the front. If you can't find anything that your little cherub likes you can attach some cheap reflective strips or adhesive tape yourself to a bag of their choosing.
These strips can be picked up for pence in many high street shops and supermarkets and can also help your child to distinguish their bag from the dozens of others piled up in the playground.
You can also contact your local council for advice. Many councils offer free reflective strips, hi-vis shoulder straps, key rings and stickers at this time of year for this very purpose. Just Google the name of your local council and see what is on offer for free.
It's a simple fact of life that your kids are going to need their own computers come the new school year if they haven't got one already.
There are of course many bargains to be had online, not least from this very Hot Deals. But there are other ways to save money on the all important tech purchases wherever you buy.
Operating System options – Practically every new PC (not Macs) you'll find now will come with Windows 7 pre-installed. On the one hand this is great as you'll be getting the latest version of the market leading operating system, but this is something that you will be paying for.
Bargains can be had if you're willing to settle for a machine running Windows Vista and you'll have no worries about it not having the functionality your kids will need.
Specification – Sure, in an ideal world we'd all love a PC with a massive hard drive and bucket loads of RAM but, again, this is something you'll pay for.
Instead of getting a machine with a whopping 4gb of memory why not go for something a little less powerful; it'll save you a pretty penny and unless your kids need the machine to edit massive HD movie files chances are they'll be absolutely no noticeable loss of processing speed.
Free Software – When you buy software, either on CD/DVD-Rom or pre-installed on your new machine you will be paying for the end user license, the research and development, the advertising budget and the wages of the many, many programmers who put the package together.
And the license you're paying for will only allow the software to be installed on a couple of computers at best. This software does not come cheap. Even a competitive site like Amazon will charge you £100 for a student licensed version of Office while Adobe Photoshop will run to at least £60. So why not consider a free alternative?
Open Office is free and can be downloaded as often as you like from
For image editing The Gimp [the GNU Image Manipulation Program] is a great free alternative to Photoshop. While it may not have all of the whistles and bells you'd find in Adobe's software it too is completely free to download from the official site
Back it up or lose it – The last thing you want is for coursework to suddenly disappear should your child's laptop decide it's had enough abuse. Make sure that everything is backed up regularly either by burning all of your child's files to a CD or DVD-Rom - if the computer has the required hardware.
Failing that a good USB memory stick of 4GB or more capacity can be bought from any of the supermarkets for £10-15. This is one investment that you cannot afford to miss out on. They can also be used to transport files to and from school while the laptop itself can be safely left at home!
If there's anything you've forgotten, or if you're just looking for some real savings on some amazing bargains why not see what you can find on Hot Deals today?
We've got details of all the latest offers on clothing, technology, entertainment (for once they've finished their homework of course!) and lunchbox treats today and every day.
And because we don't clutter our website with expired deals that no longer exist you can be sure that the deals you find here are the best to be found anywhere!