Kids love to go school shopping, but nothing says you have to get everything in one epic trip to the store. Buying school supplies online can be a great convenience for a busy mom. And, by allowing you to find exactly what you want and compare prices easily, it can save money as well as time.
So often when you go out to the store during the back-to-school season, the item you came for is out of stock, not the right size or any number of things that means a wasted trip. Of course, it’s not really... practical to get all your school supplies online. But the items listed below are good ones to buy online. I’ve added links to lists of each of these school supplies online.
01 of 07
These are some of the most obvious school supplies to buy online. The online selection of patterns, colors and styles of backpacks is far greater than any store. The downside, though, is that you can’t feel the weight of the fabric in your hands, get a good look at the quality of the zipper or get a sense of the size of them. So when you shop online for bookbags be sure to read reviews carefully and check return policies. See my list of quality backpacks for school.
02 of 07
Many kids would like a new lunchbox every year because the character that was popular in September is passé by January. And when you go to a store to buy lunchboxes, that’s what kids see, the characters. They don’t look at the quality of the lunchbox or think about the practicality of its included parts. That’s why buying a quality lunchbox in a stylish pattern may be the key to making those lunchboxes last. Browse these sensible but stylish lunchboxes online.
03 of 07
If I buy a cheap lunchbox in a store, I usually just toss out the water bottle it comes with. It will be leaking all over someone’s lunch in a few months. I think it’s better to invest in a quality water bottle. I look for a securely-closing, easy-to-work lid, BPA free materials and a carrying handle in a water bottle. Look here to find these kinds of water bottles online.
04 of 07
Shopping online might keep you out of the official uniform store in the weeks before school, and that may well be worth the price of shipping. (This is just one of several of my tips on buying school uniforms.) Before you buy school uniforms at the official store--either online or in-person--check out the links to other uniform sellers in this article on Shopping for School Uniforms. These vendors may have what you need cheaper.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Nowadays kids need all kinds of little gadgets for school. Some schools provide them; other don’t. These include stuff like:
- USB or flash drives - Kids can easily find their own files if kept on a flash drive and transport them to and from school. I recommend attaching it to a lanyard or string because these are usually pretty small and easily misplaced. (Shop Now)
- Calculators - With calculators for kids (Shop Now), it pays to check the school’s policy: Confirm if calculators are allowed or if... they are required. And if they are required, be sure to buy the right kind. Graphing calculators (Shop Now) are significantly more expensive, so be sure they are needed before purchasing.
06 of 07
A lot of this stuff you may have around the house, so check around before you buy anything:
- Ruler - You probably do have rulers around the house but check that they meet the school’s requirements, measuring in both inches and centimeters. We have also found a magnifying ruler (Shop Now) useful for our slightly farsighted child, both because it magnifies and keeps her place on the line.
- Scissors - Check the schools requirements for safety scissors (Shop Now). Often anything with a sharp point... (even in older grades) is not allowed. Schools may provide scissors, but kids still may need a pair for homework.
- Protractor and compass - When kids begin to study geometry, these are good to have at home, so even if the school provides them in class, buy them (Shop Now) to keep at home. If the school doesn't provide them, buy two.
07 of 07