5 Affordable and Useful Items For High School Students Heading Back to School

As the beginning of the school year approaches, high school students are bound to feel anxious about which supplies will best suit their learning processes. These items need to not only be useful, but also affordable for such students and their families. Here are 5 useful items for high school students that won’t break the bank:

1. Loose Leaf Paper

At the beginning of the school year, most students postpone their back-to-school shopping until their syllabi are released. However, they will still need basic supplies to suffice their work during these first classes. Loose-leaf paper is one of these essentials! For less than 3 dollars at stores like Staples, students can take notes, solve math problems, and draw on the hundreds of sheets each bundle consists of. Students can choose from an array of paper styles to address their unique needs and preferences: Wide-ruled paper is suitable for those with larger (perhaps messier) handwriting. On the other hand, college-ruled sheets are better for students with smaller handwriting or those prone to wordy writing compositions. Additionally, you can purchase paper with reinforced holes, preventing tears and making it easier to secure sheets in your folder or binder.

Additionally, a piece of paper and the handwritten notes that fill its space yield surprising cognitive benefits. Merely typing on an electronic device involves taking notes verbatim, which typically hinders the processing and understanding of information. However, taking notes by hand allows for better cognitive engagement in paraphrasing, organizing, vocabulary mapping, etc that leads to a deeper understanding of the content. So, for those seeking high grades this school year, loose-leaf paper is a necessity.

2. Pencils

To take full advantage of the paper you have purchased, pair it with a writing utensil of some sort. For those prone to writing errors, pencils will prove more useful than pens this school year. Pencils are available in large packs for as low as 1 dollar at Target. These packs may last you the whole year if you are responsible for how you use them.

The decision between traditional wooden pencils and mechanical pencils is a dilemma you may face as you shop. Mechanical pencils are marketed as long-lasting because of their durable materials. However, the fragile lead of mechanical pencils is prone to snapping—a frustration to some—and the subsequent constant repurchasing of lead can be a disadvantage. Wooden pencils do require sharpening, which can be just as tedious as the snapping of mechanical pencils’ lead, but they are cheaper. Additionally, most standardized tests prefer students to use wooden #2 pencils. The choice is yours at the end of the day!

3. Folder

The first weeks of school seldom require big binders. A simple folder can hold any papers you are given before the distribution of syllabi. For just 50 cents at Target, you can purchase a plastic folder built with two pockets and binder-like rings.

A folder is not only effective in its organizing abilities, but it can also be a tool for self-expression. You can buy folders with traditional striped patterns, ones with your favorite show characters, or you can buy plain folders and draw on your own designs. Although seemingly a piece of plastic, folders can give insight into your personality. They can also be conversation starters with like-minded peers and those with similar interests.

4. Pencil Case

Students usually lose their pencils, but pencil cases can eliminate this problem. Instead of having them free-floating inside your backpack, a pouch effectively protects your pencils and other school supplies. Therefore, purchasing one sets you up for a clean, organized learning environment. A pencil case can also contribute to a more fun environment, as like folders, there are no limitations to the student’s color, style, and material preferences.

Pencil pouches at Staples cost 7 dollars, and although this price is greater than that of the previous items, it is a great investment if you put it to good use this school year.

5. Notebook

If you want to be thorough in your purchasing of basic school supplies, consider adding a notebook to your shopping list. With a notebook, you can store your work in one place without the possible hassle of loose-leaf paper. The notebook is the height of efficiency!

The most popular brand of notebooks is Five Star, which can be purchased at Walmart for 3 dollars. Some even come with built-in folders, which further mitigates the cost of paper and folders.

As you prepare for this school year, consider the items on this list. Hopefully, by the time you become an upperclassman, you can accurately assess the supplies you need and act accordingly. For new students, school is especially nerve-wracking if you feel unprepared, but the little things—a mere pencil, a simple notebook, etc—can assuage these fears.

Work Cited


“#2 Wood PENCILS 24ct - up & up™.” Target, www.target.com/p/2-wood-pencils-24ct-up-38-up-8482/-/A-10805587?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&fndsrc=tgtao&DFA=71700000012806747&CPNG=PLA_Seasonal%2BShopping_Local%

“2 Pocket Plastic Folder with Prongs Yellow - up & up™.” Target, www.target.com/p/2-pocket-plastic-folder-with-prongs-yellow-up-38-up-8482/-/A-17079611?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&fndsrc=tgtao&DFA=71700000012806747&CPNG=PLA_Seasonal%2BShopping_Local%7CSeasonal_Ecomm_Home&adgroup=SC_Seasonal_School%2FOffice%2BSupplies&LID=700000001170770pgs&LNM=PRODUCT_GROUP

Cipriano, Joey. “What's the Difference between Wide Ruled and College Ruled Paper?” School Supply Boxes, School Supply Boxes, 12 Feb. 2020, schoolsupplyboxes.com/blogs/school-blog/what-s-the-difference-between-wide-ruled-and-college-ruled-paper.

“Corduroy Pencil Pouch.” Google Shopping, Google, www.google.com/shopping/product/14450705066029743717?lsf=seller%3A10048%2Cstore%3A13768489548043963636&prds=oid%3A5993174058358019645&q=pencil%2Bcase

“Five Star Wirebound Notebook, 1 SUBJECT, WIDE Ruled, 10 1/2’ x 8’, Black (930010zd0-Wmt-Mod).” Walmart.com, 4 Aug. 2014, www.walmart.com/ip/Five-Star-Wirebound-Notebook-1-Subject-Wide-Ruled-10-1-2-x-8-Black-930010ZD0-WMT-MOD/16828180?selected=true.

“TRU RED™ College RULED FILLER PAPER, 8’ X 10.5’, WHITE, 120 Sheets/Pack (TR37427): Staples.” Staples.com, www.staples.com/Staples-College-Ruled-Filler-Paper-8-x-10-1-2-120-Pack-37427M/product_772966?ci_sku=772966&KPID=772966&cid=PS%3AGS%3ASBD%3APLA%3ABTS&gclid