Back to School

These 10 Back to School Items are a Waste of Your Money

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It seems like kids should loathe and parents should rejoice back to school time, but the truth is both groups hate it. For kids, it means summer is almost over, and the daily grind is about to start again. Parents don’t have it easy, either, since they have to start packing lunches and shopping for supplies that add up to a final bill akin to holiday shopping.

 

10. Expensive gym shoes

Expensive gym shoes

Expensive gym shoes

Your kids might be begging you to put the coolest new shoes on your back to school list, but they probably don’t need top of the line gym shoes. The best pair of Air Jordan shoes won’t make your child jump higher or run faster, but those expensive sneakers will wear out just as quickly as their regular footwear.

 

9. Mechanical pencils

Mechanical pencils

Mechanical pencils

No matter how great of a deal you get on mechanical pencils, they don’t need to be among the back to school items you put in your cart. Either they’re running out of the lead at the wrong time, or kids are losing them as often as regular pencils. No matter how old your students are, they probably don’t need special pencils.

 

8. Loose-leaf paper

Loose-leaf paper

Loose-leaf paper

Schools increasingly rely on tablets such as Google Chromebooks for assignments in and out of the classroom, according to the Associated Press. In this day and age, a giant ream of loose-leaf paper is practically useless. Most notebooks, which you’re probably buying anyway, have tearaway paper in case something needs to be turned in to the teacher.

 

7. Candy

Candy

Candy

If you want to get on a grade school teacher’s bad side, then, by all means, put Smarties and Pixy Stix on your back to school shopping list. But put yourself in a teacher’s shoes. How would you feel facing a classroom full of kids on a sugar rush followed by the inevitable crash? You might have just shuddered at the thought, and that’s why candy is one of the back to school items educators don’t want to see in the classroom.

 

6. Disposable lunch supplies

Disposable lunch supplies

Disposable lunch supplies

Brown paper bags, individually-packaged snacks, and plastic sandwich bags make packing a lunch for your kids easy, but they all end up in the garbage. If you’re thinking long term, however, it makes sense to buy reusable containers for sandwiches and snacks. The initial cost for reusable containers is higher, but you’ll save money in the long run.

 

5. Deluxe versions of normal items

Deluxe versions of normal items

Deluxe versions of normal items

Your kids might need a set of colored pencils or a pack of ballpoint pens, but do you know what they don’t need? A huge collection of $19 glitter pens or a $33 set of colored pencils. The deluxe versions of regular supplies are pointless back to school items you don’t need.

 

4. Backpacks

Backpack

Backpack

This one comes with a caveat. Of course, some students are going to need backpacks, and if the one from last school year is worn out, then a new one is in order. But if you’re little one is just starting school, he or she won’t need a huge book bag since there won’t be too much schoolwork coming home. Plus, a loaded backpack won’t be doing any favors for your child’s posture.

 

3. Note cards

Note cards

Note cards

Just as most students won’t need a clipboard in the classroom, the same goes for note cards. Kids don’t need notecards for most of their projects at school. If the teacher says you need them, go in with a group of parents to buy a large pack and divide them among the kids.

 

2. Clipboards

Clipboards

Clipboards

Teachers tell Forbes that clipboards are some of the most pointless back to school items, so if it’s on your list, you can cross it off. Students don’t need a clipboard for most schoolwork, and if they do, you can probably find one around the house or make your own with some corrugated cardboard.

 

1. New lunchboxes

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

A blogger at The Simple Dollar puts new lunchboxes in the “don’t need” category. Unless last year’s lunchbox is completely dilapidated, there’s no reason to buy a new one.

Emily Wilson

Emily Wilson is 3rd-year University student at Brigham Young University and  Financial Writer for University Magazine and Edmonton Gazette

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