Back to School Like a Boss

BY CARRIE MAH

With a few weeks left of summer, commercials should be popping up with its Back-to-School sales. It’s that time of year where you (or someone you know) should be preparing for school. Here are a few tips on what and where to buy supplies.

The Essentials

Usually your teacher creates a list for the upcoming school year of school supplies, so if you decide to stick with that then avoid straying from it! At the very least, you will need the following:

Organization

THIS
For those who need things organized, purchase pencil pouches to hold your supplies, or binder separators if you use them. You can also buy tabs or even sticky notes to separate sections in a notebook.
 
After your courses are finished, I recommend keeping your notes and projects (for nostalgia and to review material) in a binder, folder, or a box.
 
And don’t forget a backpack. If you invest in a good one, you don’t have to buy one every year. Despite the fads that go around school, any school supply that features a cartoon or show is bound to be lower quality than something that looks basic. Resist the urge to buy another My Little Pony backpack, and invest in something like Jansport or Swiss Gear. 

Education

EDU
Something to write notes on. Whether it be a tablet with a note-taking app, a notebook, paper and a binder/folder, or even a sketchbook (helps with classes that require a lot of diagrams), writing notes (by hand) helps you remember better.
 
With this, writing utensils. This includes pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, etc. You might like mechanical pencils, an ink pen, or even the classic No.2 pencil. Either way, find the one you like best, buy a few of them (because it’s guaranteed one of them gets lost) and have fun writing! I personally like colored coding my notes, so I have a collection of colored erasable pens. I also tend to lose my erasers, so I usually buy a pack of my favorite erasers.
 
Learning tools, especially when you’re young. I was terrible at math before my mom tested me on my times table through a small book she bought. There are a ton of workbooks you can purchase as well that extra exercises to kids. She also bought a lot of educational games (ClueFinders, Math for the Real World, Vtech notebooks with educational games installed) that I often played when I was bored. Eventually I played games more than I watched TV, and I became more studious than I would have without these tools.

Arts and Crafts

ART
You can never go wrong with buying a lot of glue sticks/white glue (also good for making handmade gifts for people), tape (duct tape, scotch tape, masking tape), scissors (I have a few in different locations for convenience), colored/cardboard paper, poster paper, foam paper/letters, coloring tools (crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint), and other craft supplies. It will save you a trip to the store every time a creative project needs to get accomplished.
 
Bonus, but not necessary supplies, that save you time include a paper cutter,  exacto knives and a cutting board, stencils, and a ruler. A small whiteboard or cork board can help you organize your ideas and can also be used as a to-do list for upcoming assignments.

Where to Buy

WHERE
Before purchasing, find supplies you can use from home. It’s pointless to buy another pack of crayons if there’s a barely-used one buried in a drawer.
 
If you want to split school supplies with someone else, head to Costco. I found a huge collection of colored Sharpies for around $10 one year—a great deal for something I’ll be frequently using (for gifts, projects, etc.) They also have a pack of glue sticks and reasonably priced Swiss Gear backpacks.  
 
For craft supplies, go with Michaels. They frequently have sales and you can ask them to ring coupons through at the till. The quality of their paper is quite good, and they have a ton of selection.
With other school supplies, Walmart, Staples, and Office Depot/Max have price match programs.
 
More tips available on Consumer Reports, The Wire Cutter, and All You.


Carrie Mini Bio
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