03/07/2009 08:00 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Tip Of The Day: Buy Your School Uniform Now

This is one of those hard-won, "Been there, done that, almost didn't buy the T shirt" sort of tips, where I share my past parenting idiocy in the hope that it will help you be a bit more wise.

I don't think I could quite believe it when my first child started school. How did my baby girl come to be grown up enough to be in full time education? It just did not compute.

So I put off buying her school uniform until the start of September. She started in the middle of the month, so I figured the shops would be nice and empty, since older children had already gone back to school.

How wrong could I be? Yes, they were empty - of uniforms! What a mistake.

There was virtually nothing left in the shops, and we had to scrabble around to find the bits and pieces we needed. I had thought you must be a bit dull to buy clothes for the next term when this one hasn't finished, but take it from me, it's a necessity.

Buying uniform now is also a good way to spread the cost. School shoes are best purchased nearer to September so you get a good fit. If you buy the other things you need now, you might not frighten your credit card too much in one hit.

Buying now also gives you time to order online, and as luck would have it, Marks and Spencer currently have a 3 for the price of 2 offer on schoolwear, including free delivery from their website. And as many of the supermarkets do schoolwear, you can make the process even easier by bunging a few polo shirts in with the weekly shop.

You can also get name tags online here, though slummy mummy as I am, I have always found that a biro'd name is a perfectly adequate substitute, if you don't get round to ordering them in time.

More useful tips of the day here