Tips for Purchasing Back to School Supplies

Written By: Mary M. Alward
Printer Friendly Version

In just a few days, kids from all over the US will be going back to school. Now is the time to take them shopping for school supplies. Though you may not have your school list yet, there are some basic school supplies that will be needed.


Elementary school supplies are sometimes shared with the entire class. Basic school supplies for elementary school students include:

Three-ring paper


Pencils, erasers and a pencil sharpener


Paint, pencil crayons, glue stick, crayons, sketch pad and pencils, markers and scissors.

Books for taking notes

Folders (buy plastic ones. They will last the entire year.)

Graph paper


Pencil case

Plastic tote to store supplies

Index cards


Copy paper

High School

Ruler, compass and protractor


Graph paper

Copy paper


Binders and loose leaf paper


Flash RAM or floppy discs (Check to find out what type of computers are used at your child's school

Index cards


Art supplies if your child is attending art class

Other Items

Locks for lockers

Extra locker shelves, hooks etc.

Backpack or book bag

Gym uniform or clothes and shoes for gym class (Some schools offer a list of items needed for gym class)

Book covers to protect text books

Day planners to record dates for tests, quizzes and assignment deadlines

Emergency supply kit. Some schools require students to provide non-perishable food items, change of clothes, a towel and blanket, water, a flashlight, bandages etc.

Tips for Purchasing School Supplies

Always keep school supply receipts. It's possible you may want to return something for an exchange or refund

Check your school's website two weeks before back to school. They may have a school supply list available online.

Check flyers delivered to your mailbox for school supply sales. Buy extra loose leaf paper and other bulk items when they are on sale. It's surprising how much paper, pens and crayons kids can go through in a year. Later in the year these supplies will be much more expensive, so buy now and save.

Only buy backpacks and lunch boxes if absolutely necessary. If possible use last year's items. These things can be expensive. If you must buy them, check out thrift shops and garage sales. They're often found for as little as a dollar or two and they're in great condition.

Always make a list before shopping for school supplies. Put everything that is needed on the list and don't buy anything else. Extras can add up quickly.

Make a budget and stick to it.

Take a look at your child's school supplies for the previous years. Can some items be used again? Recycling last year's items can save big bucks.

If possible, buy in bulk with little or no packaging. Three glue sticks will last for months and they're often cheaper than singles. Check the price of reams of paper in lieu of small packages. When you take extra supplies home, set up a supply depot. A bookshelf or tote works well. Stock it with paper, pencils, pens, erasers, notebooks, rulers and other necessary items. That way you have everything your child may need on hand and won't have to run out in the middle of a blizzard to buy necessary school supplies.

Stay away from school supply fashion trends. School supplies never go out of style and most teachers dislike fancy gadgets because they distract from the lesson being taught.

Buy quality products. They will save you money in the long run. Brand names have longevity and they can often be found for a reasonable price at this time of year.

Remember to follow these tips when you purchase your child's school supplies. You will save money and have everything you need on hand throughout the year.

Sponsored Links
K-12 Articles
Article Topics
Similar Articles
  • Teaching Children a Love of History
    Parents and grandparents are responsible for teaching children a love of history. To begin, relate anecdotes and stories of family to your child. Bring out old family photographs, birth and death...
  • All About Backpacks
    Your child riffles through his backpack to find homework assignments, his MP3 player, lunch money and his Game Boy games. He shoves it into the bottom of his locker, shoves it under the seat on the...
  • School Lunches ... Hot or Cold?
    First there were four, now there are six, no one knows how many more there may be in the future. The four original food groups were tossed out a long time ago. The food pyramid, also, seems to be on...
  • The First Day of School
    The first day of kindergarten is a rite of passage for any student. Every mother cries and takes pictures. Everything is new-new backpack, new pencils, new experiences, new clothes, new school,...
  • The Importance of Ninth Grade
    Students who are entering ninth grade do not realize the importance of the critical decisions they will be making during the next four to five years. The junior year of high school, ninth grade, is...