It could cost Manawatu families nearly $1000 to kit out each kid in a school uniform next year, pushing parents to look for cheaper options.
As schools around the city close for the summer break, parents are already thinking about what's needed for the classroom next year.
Palmerston North Girls' High School Parent Teacher Association hosted its annual second-hand uniform sale last night, with more than 100 families attending.
Treasurer Erin DeCleene said parents were looking for uniforms earlier than before so they could manage money better over the break.
"It just means parents can be ready and prepared and they don't have to worry about it if they go away on holidays."
Parents said they were feeling the pinch from the retail price of school uniforms so were looking to second-hand sales, Trade Me and classified ads to find cheaper options.
Aggie Kanace, whose daughter Sylvia is due to start at Girls' High next year, said sorting uniforms now took the strain off Christmas spending.
Maggie Hartnett and Steven Poelman, whose daughter Caitlin Hartnett-Poelman, 13, is also starting next year, said that with teens growing, buying second-hand was sensible.
Gillespies Value House retail assistant Monique Dekker said parents were setting up layby payments as early as October.
"When you divide the price over the three years, or the cost of what clothing them in mufti is, it is a worthwhile investment."
The store stocked uniforms for Palmerston North Girls' High School, St Peter's College, Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School and St James' School - with a Girls' High junior summer and winter uniform, including a dress, cardigan, kilt, blouse, wet weather jacket, scarf, stocking and socks, costing nearly $680.
A senior uniform, including a blazer, skirt, a long-sleeve and short-sleeve blouse, plus a tie costs about $445 and a sports uniform would cost a further $110 on average.
Palmerston North Boys' High has a shop that is the sole provider of uniforms for its students.
A set of shorts, short-sleeved shirt, jersey and socks cost about $180.
But to get the blazer, a wet weather jacket, trousers, formal shirt, school belt and tie, sock garters, scarf and the school's PE uniform, which includes a singlet, shorts and togs, it's a further $630.
And that doesn't include the school's sports uniforms, which, depending on the code could cost, at the high end, another $130.
Kitting out a teen for Awatapu College was cheaper, with the school's uniform being sold at Postie Plus.
A basic girls' uniform of a skirt, socks, stockings, a polo top and a polar fleece cost about $170 and a boys' uniform of shorts, and trousers, socks, a polo top and a polar fleece was about $180 - sports gear prices were unavailable.
Postie Plus branch manager Trish Street said more schools were opting for uniforms because of the ease and durability.
Trade Me also has a wide range of Manawatu school uniform items for sale. Yesterday, there were 50 items listed, with some auctions starting at a reserve of $1.
- Manawatu Standard
How excited are you about the 2014 Commonwealth Games?Related story: After the hype, time to let the Games begin