Every year I feel like my kids' school shopping lists get longer and longer. This year, my daughter's list includes everything from dry erase markers to five reams of copy paper. My son's? He's going into fifth grade, but apparently he needs several 16 gigabyte memory sticks and, somewhat inexplicably, small, pointed-tip scissors. I shudder to think why those are required. Being on a budget, I need to get the most bang for my buck. I also like to buy extra when I can, so I found essential back to school items from Amazon for $5 or less so I can provide however and whatever I can.
The cost of sending your children even to public schools can be overwhelming for families. Between supplies, school clothes, shoes, and backpacks, it's easy to spend hundreds of dollars on each child at the beginning of the year. I live in Brooklyn, New York, and even though we're over a month out from the start of school, I've already spent over $120 per child in preparation for school. It's a huge financial burden for many, but thankfully Amazon has lots of essential school supplies priced at or below the $5 mark, making things a bit easier to swallow.
1. A 6-Pack Of Glue Sticks
If your child is anything like mine, they will need about one gajillion of these during the school year, both at home and at school. They lose the caps, they use too much glue, they think everything is better with confetti glued to it — no matter the reason, these seem to disappear.
2. Safety Scissors
I have no idea how many pairs of these scissors I've bought over the years. I know I'll buy a few more pairs this year as I have no idea where they've all gone. (With the socks and the house elves, I presume. There's no other possibility.)
3. Proper Glue
Do they need both sticks and liquid? Of course. You can't make those raindrop pictures with the glue sticks, nor will they work for gluing together popsicle sticks. For that, you'll need the good stuff.
4. Dry Erase Markers
My daughter needs two four-packs of these. Not the most environmentally friendly school supply, but very useful. These can get really pricey, so take advantage of the sale.
5. Jumbo Pack Of #2 Pencils
I think I should just buy three or four of these packs; my daughter has a sharpening obsession. I don't know why, but she just loves a super sharp pencil, and that means she goes through them pretty fast.
6. Composition Notebooks
I have to buy 15 of these. Yes, you read that right — 15 between two children. Thank all the sweet heavens that these are on sale. They're also good for journaling and as budget notebooks.
This four-pack of metric/imperial rulers are semi-flexible and ready to be shoved into backpacks and used as a straight edge for making fortune tellers and paper airplanes. They're brightly colored and see through, making lining things up a breeze.
While Trapper Keepers are no longer the binder of choice (sad face), kids still need tabs, and these are easy to write on and bright.
9. Colored Pencils
36 dual ended colored pencils with a sharpener for under $4? That's a pretty sweet deal. Imagine all the coloring books your kid could go through with these — the options are nearly endless. My little is going to love these.
10. Twistable Crayons
These seem ridiculous, but they don't break as easily as regular crayons. This particular set is also scented, but it's the twisting that makes it worth your while.
11. Plastic Folders
The NYC Department of Education asks for plastic folders specifically. Unfortunately, they're pricey, and while you can sometimes find them at a discount, it's not often. These are almost $3/folder, but I will tell you that they do last more than one year, and stickers do stick to them, so your kids can decorate.
12. Loose Leaf Paper
I know what you're thinking. "$4 for paper?" It sounds high, but look how much you get. It's $4 for 200 pages, not the 50 pages normally sold at the office supply store. You're getting a lot more paper for the price.
These are finely tipped, so your kids won't go highlighter bananas, highlighting everything everywhere, and they also have a nice nib and feel good in your hands. At around $4 for six, they're a major steal.
14. The Best Erasers
These work the best and last the longest. They also smell heavenly to me, but I think that's a personal thing. My daughter's lasted all last year and there's still half of an eraser in her art drawer.
15. Index Cards
Just buy a dozen of these now. It's inevitable you'll have to soon.