Most schoolchildren dread the start of classes. There is that panicked feeling of the summer slipping uncontrollably away. The clouds stir; it starts raining all the time; playtime grows scarce. But there are also a few treasured experiences that come with this time.
Perhaps the most irresistible of this time’s enchantment is school supplies shopping. As children, everything is decided for us, from the time we go to sleep to the time we are woken up, from which subjects are to be taken and where we go to school. But when we visit the bookstore to buy our school supplies, we get to choose.
Of course, our parents and older siblings ultimately make the purchase, but—get this—we get a say! We are asked, which one do you want? Which color? Which character do we want? At that age, getting a say is everything.
So when we arrive at the bookstore ready to buy, it is like a bright, busy bazaar for the young mind. It’s like a toy store—with a purpose. At that point, everything is still a choice. Anything is possible.
This is why we go into the school year treasuring the implements we use, the exact color of the highlighter, the weight of the pencil case, the feel of the No. 2 pencil in our hands. We never forget these.
Here then are 10 tips for your Super school supplies shopping:
Make a list and be sure you have everything on your list. As the start of the year gets closer, it will be harder to get specific items as more parents and students crowd the bookstores. So try to make it an efficient trip, making an actual list and ticking off what’s on it.
Make sure your list is consistent with your school’s requirements. While every school requires students to have a certain set of supplies, some schools are stricter than others. Others even require particular brands and items, so it always pays to pay close attention to what the school needs.
Mind the hand-me-downs. While it is great to always have fresh supplies, it would be helpful to note if you have useful hand-me-down items such as rulers, scissors and the like as these do represent strategic savings.
Go early to beat the rush. Bookstores brace for the school opening, so they are packed to the gills with shiny school supplies as early as April. There is absolutely no disadvantage to going as early as you can.
Be organized. Try to do all your school supplies shopping in one trip. If you have siblings who are also going to school, it would be very opportune to all go together to the bookstore.
Don’t buy too many pens. Of all the items you will buy, pens—ballpoint, tech or others—will be really easy to overstock on. But remember these pens have ink that will dry when not used, so there’s no reason to acquire too many of them at once. Buy them as the need arises.
Function over fancy. Yes, it would be great to have cute items with your favorite cartoon characters on them, but remember you have to use these items for a whole year, so always consider how useful and resilient the items are instead of how they look.
Be cost-effective. Similarly, expensive supplies aren’t necessarily better than cheaper ones. Considering you might have to replace damaged, lost or used-up items, it would be prudent to buy the items priced more reasonably.
Concentrate on the essentials. If you are on a budget, then focus on the items more likely to be used immediately and on a daily basis, such as pens, paper, notebooks and pencils. The more specialized art supplies can be bought as the need arises for arts and crafts projects.
Buy a bag. You’re going to need something to put all those supplies in, and sometimes there is a lot of such items needed. Buy an ergonomic backpack with the right straps or a bag with wheels to properly distribute the weight.