The Best, Cheapest School Supplies Of 2021: From Basics To Cool Stuff

These Cheap Back To School Supplies Let You Stock Up Without Breaking The Bank

July 25, 2019 Updated August 17, 2021

Feature – Cheap School Supplies

Hey mamas, here’s some news you might be happy to hear — cheap school supplies exist, so you don’t have to break the bank when checking off your list! Back to school season means new back-to-school supplies, new school clothes, new sneakers (that actually fit), a new backpack, and a whole lot of new emotions to navigate. You have enough going on and are probably already spending more money than you’d like on all the things, so we’re here to help you out. (Parenthood, right?)

Stocking up on planners, #2 pencils, glue sticks, and 3-ring binders shouldn’t put a wrench in your budget this back-to-school season. (And don’t forget a first day of school sign for your kiddo to hold for a picture-perfect moment.) So, we compiled this cheap school supply checklist, all of which are available on Amazon, to make your shopping easier and less expensive.

Where are the best back-to-school deals?

We’re finding a ton on Amazon. You can search things like “school supplies under $2” or “school supplies under $10” to pull up a variety of back-to-school essentials that won’t drain your bank account.

And don’t let the word “cheap” scare you off. (Like it ever would!) In this case, it really just means inexpensive. There are plenty of products that are highly-rated — we even found ones that are made from decent materials. Plus, if you save serious cash during back-to-school shopping, you can spend more money pampering yourself. You deserve it after the fresh hell you survived prepping your kids for a year of success. Keep reading for cheap school supplies you can justify spending on this year.

Best Cheap School Supplies

Crayola Back To School Supply Box - FOR GRADES K-5

This school supply kit is a one-stop-shop. Jam-packed with 32 items, the box has all the basics, including #2 pencils, colored pencils, crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissors, pencil sharpener, pencil box, folders, pencil grips, ruler, eraser, and notebooks.

$29.99 AT AMAZON


The Superbreak JanSport is the JanSport that started it all. Made in the USA and ideal for everything from school to after-school sports, this backpack is one of JanSport’s best-selling backpacks. It features padded shoulder straps and a front zipper pocket. Plus, it’s the perfect canvas for sewing patches. (Is that still a thing kids do?)

$35.00 AT AMAZON

Fiscars 3-Pack Softgrip Scissors - WON'T GIVE BLISTERS

How many times do you hear, “Mooommm, where are my scissors?” Too many times a day, probably. This 3-pack of 7″ scissors will help with that, because when one is lost, another is right around the corner. It doesn’t hurt that they come in fun designs and have a soft grip that won’t cause blisters when your kiddo is cutting all the things for a big project. The size is bigger than kid scissors and smaller than adult, perfect for kids ages 12 and up.

$15.49 AT AMAZON

Westcott 12" Wooden Ruler - IT'S DURABLE

Rulers seems to always be on back-to-school lists, and somehow your child’s ruler from the year prior is always M.I.A. Is there some sort of sad ruler graveyard we don’t know about? Good thing this ruler is super cheap at only $1.66, so if and when your kid’s ruler does go missing, replacing it won’t be annoying. Okay, it’ll be annoying, but it won’t be expensive.


BIC Xtra-Precision Mechanical Pencils - VARIETY PACK

Twenty four mechanical pencils for $3.99 in a variety of colors? Um, yes please. That may seem like a lot of pencils, but based on how often kids lose/give away/let other kids borrow pencils on a regular basis and never get them back, you might want to order two packs.



You never know when you might need a paper clip or 300. This set of colorful office clips comes with binder clips and paper clips in various sizes and a bunch of rubber bands. And best of all, they come in a storage container so they don’t end up all over your child’s desk or the floor. That’s the hope, anyway.


Best Basic School Supplies

Faber-Castell Beeswax Crayons - FOR YOUR LITTLE ARTIST

For many elementary school classes, bringing your own crayons is a syllabus staple. We love these because they’re made from beeswax and completely non-toxic. The best part is you don’t have to sacrifice any of the pigment and vibrancy of traditional crayons. For just $5.99, you get 12 vibrant colors that are hard to break, easy to grip, and even work on black construction paper!



This four-pack of binders comes in at just under $10 and the pack available in various thicknesses. They’re PVC-free and non-stick, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to reuse them again and again. Ink and images don’t cling to the binders’ covers and there’s also a back-mounted ring feature that leaves the spine of the binders free from annoying rivets. 

Pro tip: Stack the binders by flipping every other one the opposite way. They’ll be much easier to carry and store this way.


Twone Three-Pack Soft Cover Notebooks - NO INK BLEEDING THROUGH THE PAPER HERE

Can’t find a quality notebook that won’t break the bank? We feel your pain. Nowadays, it’s like notebooks just keep getting more and more expensive unless you buy a bunch in bulk from Costco or something. These soft cover notebooks are the best of both worlds: Just $13.98 and made of quality materials. Perfect for sketching, drawing, or taking notes, the Twone notebooks are lined and fit in most handbags, school bags, and backpacks. Plus, they’re lightweight.

$12.98 AT AMAZON

Gorilla Kids Disappearing Purple Glue Sticks - SAFE, NONTOXIC, AND STRONG

Gorilla Glue now makes school glue for kids and it won’t break your budget. A 1-pack costs $5.49 and this disappearing purple formula works on nearly every material: Paper, construction paper, felt, card stock, fabric, foam boards, photos, display boards, wood, sequins, googly eyes, and even some kinds of plastic. This glue is ideal for crafting, art projects, and the inevitable elementary school diorama. Not to mention, that purple formula helps kids use the right amount and not miss their target. It goes on purple and dries clear!


Best School Supplies Organizers

Easthill Big Capacity Pencil Case - STYLISH ORGANIZATION

You know that thing teachers do when they shame your kid for not having a pen or pencil? “You wouldn’t come to class without your textbook, so why would you come to class without a pen?” Ugh. Make sure that never happens again with this stylish pencil case. There’s plenty of space for storing every writing utensil your kid could possibly need (as well as scissors, erasers, calculator, and anything else). 

$12.99 AT AMAZON

Learning Resources Create-a-Space Storage Center - 9 STORAGE CONTAINERS

It’s unclear if this storage center from Learning Resources will bring your child as much joy as it’ll bring you, but either way, it’s a must-have for all the miscellaneous school supplies kept at home. It can hold things like scissors, glue, paintbrushes, markers, crayons, and colored pencils. It truly is the organization that dreams are made of.

$18.99 AT AMAZON


This Post-it weekly planner will help you and your students keep track of homework assignments, tests, and project due dates. And, ya know, other stuff, like life! This makes everything easier for everyone, since all tasks are in one place and they’re easy to see.

$13.50 AT AMAZON

Post-it Note Dispenser - EASY NOTE-TAKING

Raise your hand if you have 500,000 Post-it notes hanging around the house in all your nooks and crannies and when you actually need to use one you can never find it! Yup, that’s like, all of us. Get yourself this cute dispenser. Probably parents will use it more than their kids, TBH, but boy does it make life so much easier.


Zipit Monster Pencil Case - CUTE AND EFFICIENT

This adorable rainbow-colored pencil case looks like it’ll eat all the pencils and pens, which makes putting things away a tad more fun. The bag can hold up to 30 pencils or pens and it comes in several color options.


Topwoozu 2-Pack Pencil Pouch - FOR 3-RING BINDERS

Two pencil pouches are better than one. Whether you have two kids or one kid who has millions of pencils and other supplies, there’s plenty of room in these two pouches. They fit in 3-ring binders, so they’re less likely to be misplaced. There aren’t any frills about these pencil cases, but they get the job done and won’t break the bank.


Best Cool School Supplies

Sprout Plantable Graphite Pencils - PENCILS THAT TURN INTO PLANTS

Yeah, it kind of looks like drugs, but it’s just a plant-to-be. We’re not saying traditional pencils aren’t cool, but these graphite pencils turn into basil or lavender once their tips can no longer be sharpened. A pack of eight goes for about $15.00 and each writing utensil is made from 100% eco-friendly material. Available in eight different colors and nine seed types that range from herbs, vegetables, or flowers, these pencils are lead-free, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Not to mention they’re pretty damn cool and will prob score your kid some major points with the science teacher. That’s why this is actually a bang for your back-to-school buck.

Here’s how it works: When your Sprout pencil becomes too short to use, plant it, and watch it blossom. The tip of the pencil features a small seed capsule that activates when stuck in the dirt. And in case you’re wondering, yes, you have to water your pencil once planted!

$15.50 AT AMAZON

Crayola 6-Pack Erasable Highlighters - FOR ALL YOUR ERASING NEEDS

Who wants standard ‘ole highlighters? This 6-pack of erasable highlighters takes the pressure off. If your child makes a mistake, they can easily erase the problem. It doesn’t hurt that each highlighter has a chisel tip to make thick or thin lines for both highlighting and underlining.


Crayola 4-Pack Hand Sanitizer - KEEP THE GERMS AWAY

As kids head back to school for a (hopefully) normal school year (as normal as possible, anyway), it’s even more important they keep their hands clean. Of course, soap and water is best, but since that isn’t always feasible, this fun 4-pack of antibacterial gel hand sanitizer that kills up to 99.99% of common germs will do the trick. Remind your kids that they have to actually use it for it to do the trick though — you know, semantics.

$12.99 AT AMAZON

Mr. Pen 30-Pack Food Erasers — LATEX FREE

Kids deserve a little fun in their school day, and this 30-pack of take apart food erasers definitely bring it. Each eraser can be disassembled and reconstructed, plus they’re latex free and actually work. The delicious looking donuts, sushi, fruits, and pizzas might make your child feel hungry, but honestly, what doesn’t?


Although we only recommend picks we really love, we may earn a commission on purchases made through links from our site.
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JanSport SuperBreak Backpack - HIGHEST R...
Easthill Big Capacity Pencil Case - STYL...
Faber-Castell Beeswax Crayons - FOR YOUR...
Cardinal Economy 3-Ring Binder - STAY OR...
Twone Three-Pack Soft Cover Notebooks - ...
Sprout Plantable Graphite Pencils - PENC...
Gorilla Kids Disappearing Purple Glue St...
Fiscars 3-Pack Softgrip Scissors - WON'T...
Post-it Weekly Planner - KEEPING THINGS ...
Crayola 6-Pack Erasable Highlighters - F...
Post-it Note Dispenser - EASY NOTE-TAKIN...
Crayola 4-Pack Hand Sanitizer - KEEP THE...
Mr. Pen 30-Pack Food Erasers — LATEX F...
Westcott 12" Wooden Ruler - IT'S DURABLE
Crayola Back To School Supply Box - FOR ...
BIC Xtra-Precision Mechanical Pencils - ...
Learning Resources Create-a-Space Storag...
Zipit Monster Pencil Case - CUTE AND EFF...
Topwoozu 2-Pack Pencil Pouch - FOR 3-RIN...