There are plenty of back to school supply lists out there giving parents a careful look at what children and teens need for school. Hidden among those lists are a few school supplies parents should simply not purchase.
Expensive Graphing Calculators – Unless your child is in an advanced math class, there is no need to spend $100 on an expensive graphing calculator. Most schools offer free use of specialty supplies, like the TI-80 series calculators.
Mechanical Pencils – While children love colorful mechanical pencils, they are a waste of money. Once the lead runs out, more lead needs to be purchased adding more cost for maintenance. A set of standard number 2 pencils and a pencil sharpener will work just fine.
Expensive Zipping Binders – Many schools suggest children keep folders, dividers, and paper in a three ring binder. This does not mean parents have to spend $15 to $20 on an expensive zipper variety. For about $3, a three inch, three ring binder will work just fine.
Cheap Backpacks – Yes, cheap backpacks can save money right now, but after a few weeks the zipper will break or the fabric will tear. Instead, try ordering a Jansport or LL Bean backpack that a child can carry with them for several years.
Plan Based Cell Phones – Many parents want their children to have cell phones at school for personal protection and in case of emergency, but many schools no longer allow cell phones in classrooms. Instead of adding a child to your cell phone plan and paying for service for the next two years, try a pay-as-you-go phone with unlimited minutes and data.
Colorful Socks – This is especially important for children who will be attending gym class at school. Colorful socks may look cute, but the dye will rub off on the inside of shoes. Colorful socks are often made from fabric other than cotton, which can also lead to foot odor and stinky shoes.
Freezer Packs – Children and teens will forget and lose freezer packs faster than you can freeze them for the next day’s lunch. Instead of investing in freezer packs, choose to freeze yogurt cups and use them as ice packs for cold, packed lunch.
Expensive Lunch Boxes – There are lots of cool lunch boxes out there that cost $8, $10, $15 or more. These are useless because children will forget them and they impact the environment horribly. Brown paper bags can be recycled and cost far less over the course of a year than replacing that lost lunch box several times.
Jeggings and Designer Jeans – No budget friendly person would think once about spending $100 or more on a pair of jeans, but some parents have expendable income and can afford the extra cost. Kids are at school to learn, not have a fashion show so leave the designers on the runway. Jeggings are a jean legging that fit skin tight to the leg. Popular among girls, there is a good chance many schools will place them on the “Do Not Wear” list soon after school starts.
Hats – Security measures are heightened in many schools and hats are not allowed during school hours. Stylish hats can set a parent back $30 or more and will not be allowed past the locker.
Parents need to think about budget and use when choosing the best back to school supplies. Some items that last are more expensive and other expensive items are useless for most students. This list will help parents weed out the dos and don’ts of back to school supplies.