Back-to-School Shopping on a Budget: Where to Buy Crayons, Highlighters and More

It feels like summer just started, but before you know it, it’ll be time to load up on school supplies again. Like most everyday items, back-to-school supplies have become more expensive over the past couple of years, so it’s wise to plan ahead in order to get everything your student needs at the best prices. 

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

Online shopping is the easiest way to cross everything off your list in one shot. Whether you need notebooks, pencils, highlighters or even a budget laptop, you can find pretty much everything you need online — without the hassle of ransacked shelves or waiting in line. Online shopping can also save you money since it’s easier to do price comparisons without driving all over. 

There are several online retailers that will make your back-to-school shopping a whole lot easier. We’ve rounded up a list of the best places to shop for back-to-school supplies based on prices, availability and the range of items offered. Here are the best places to shop online so you can find everything your student needs to get them through the school year.

Target is a great place to stock up on back-to-school essentials for any grade — and it’s totally budget-friendly. Plus, you don’t have to buy everything in bulk, which can be a problem with some online retailers. (No one needs to buy six plastic pencil cases at once.) Keep in mind that you’ll need to spend at least $35 to qualify for Target’s free shipping, but we all know that’s not hard to do.

Amazon back-to-school supplies

Amazon

If you already have a Prime membership, Amazon is a great way to save on school supplies. It also has a nice selection of supply kit bundles, which is helpful for those who aren’t sure exactly what they’ll need. If you don’t have a Prime membership, it’s worth it to sign up for Amazon’s free 30-day trial so you can at least get the free expedited shipping before school starts. Just be sure to cancel it if you don’t plan to continue paying for Prime.

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EarthHero

The best way to be eco-friendly is to sort through your child’s school supplies from last year and see what can be reused. But if you absolutely must buy new supplies and you still want to be as green as possible, EarthHero is your best bet. All of its product vendors are vetted to meet high sustainability standards, and goods are shipped plastic-free.

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Dormify

Dormify isn’t the best place to shop for notebooks and pens, but when it comes to dorm room decor and college essentials, it can’t be beaten. From storage bins to towels to twin XL sheets, you’ll find everything your student needs to survive dorm living this fall. Your student can design their own look for their room or you can choose from one of the many curated designs.

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Pottery Barn Kids

If your kid needs a new lunch box or backpack, Pottery Barn Kids has the best selection we’ve found. The retailer offers an amazingly wide variety of designs, patterns and characters, so no matter your kid’s taste, you’re sure to find something they’ll like. Bonus: Monogramming is available for free, so no more losing that lunch box in the cafeteria.

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Best Buy

No matter your student’s age, chances are they’ll need some tech to get them through the school year. Whether they need a new laptop, noise-canceling headphones or a calculator, Best Buy has you covered. If you’re shopping for a laptop, be sure to check out our picks for the best laptop for college and the best laptop for high school students.

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Papier

While a lot of schools have shifted to laptops or iPads, some teachers understandably still like students to use good old-fashioned paper instead of a screen from time to time. Papier has a gorgeous selection of notebooks and academic planners, and you can customize them with your student’s name — a thoughtful way to get them ready and excited for a new school year.

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