Back to School Supplies

Stock up on back to school accessories

Going back to school can be like Christmas in September: stores are overflowing with colorful back-to-school accessories, the new fashion trends have hit the racks and you want to make sure that your child has everything they need to feel confident, start fresh and stay on track in the new school year. But with so many products that are being peddled as necessary academic accessories, you can find yourself spending a lot more than you had planned. Before you hit the stores for back to school supplies, take a moment to make a list of what your kids truly need and learn how to stay within a reasonable budget.

 

Essential School Supplies List

The most important school supplies for one child may not be as important for another, because the list will differ according to grade. One item that nearly every student will need is a good, basic pencil. No. 2 pencils are a classroom classic, and will trump most of the newer pencil brands in practicality, price and quality. Loose-leaf lined paper to fit into a three-ring binder, rulers and lunch bags are also fairly universal requirements for any student.

As for primary grades, glue sticks, blunt-ended scissors and a large rubber eraser make up a good portion of the list, plus water-based markers that have tight-fitting lids. Once your child hits middle school, add colored pencils, pencil sharpener, highlighter and pens to the core supplies. But keep in mind that while school supplies are typically determined by grade, some classrooms will use different items or the teacher will prefer certain styles. So before you surrender to a sale on quality gel pens, make sure that your child's teacher is open to kids using these types of pens instead of the cleaner ball-point variety.

Back to School Shopping Advice

Since supplies can add up fast and teachers may favor different items, fight the urge to battle the crowds in the week leading up to the first day of school, and wait until the teacher gives your child a list of what they will need. This way, you'll be sure to buy the right items and only the necessary items to get the year started -- it will be easier to replenish supplies or add to the collection as the year progresses rather than returning unneeded things.

Save money and hassles by sticking to basic, no-frills items. Light-up pencil sharpeners and flashy embellishments generally cost more and work poorly, so stick to classic brands that have a good reputation for making it through the school year. Another way to save money is to buy the things you absolutely know you'll need during the summer, when sales start popping up in all kinds of stores. As for back-to-school clothes, set a budget and stick with it: purchasing some basics like T-shirts, jeans and sweatshirts when they go on sale throughout the year and pairing or layering them with a few trendy fall pieces will save you a lot of cash and keep your kid looking great.

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