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20 Under $20 Back to School Must Haves

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Yep, it's about that time to start "thinking about" going back to school. As a teacher, I'm excited. Yay!

But as a parent, I get a little overwhelmed when it comes to back to school shopping. When my kids were in elementary school, they had 1 teacher and that meant 1 school supply list.

In middle school and high school, it gets a little complicated because your kid is dealing with so many teachers.

But you've come to the right place, because I have the best 20 back to school must haves for under $20.

These Items are guaranteed to be on every teachers supply list!

#1) Durable Backpack

Theses durable backpacks are a great start to any school supplies list, they come in an assortment of colors and have thick straps for shoulder and back support.

Note the keyword "DURABLE", I hate having to buy several backpacks in one school year. That's just me!

#2) Chrome Book or Mac Book Case

The school is probably going to give out chrome books or mac books, but what they will not give you is a computer case to carry it in. Now, you may be thinking, my kid can just throw it in the backpack........bad idea..... try this case for extra protection.

What I love about this case is it has handles, so that's awesome. But the best part and you can't beat this........the lifetime warranty!

#3) Pencil Case

This pencil case is next level. I can definitely get with the different compartments. It's designed to keep the messiest kid organized. No teacher can say "no" to a kid that literally has their stuff together.

This pencil case has a large capacity and is durable.

#4) Wireless Mouse

Take is from a teacher, your kid is going to need this. Yes, the chrome book they get has a built in mouse, but kids struggle with it, just like some of us adults. Sometimes it takes them longer to work with the built in mouse and they get frustrated.

This a easy way to make their load lighter and yours too, this mouse is rechargeable, so no extra money on batteries.

#5) Assorted Colored Pens

These gel pens are great for taking notes and dry quickly, so you don't have to worry about smearing ink on your paper.

This is a fun buy, but, helpful. Students take lots for notes in several classes, so these won't go to waste.

#6) Mechanical Pencils

Students love mechanical pencils, I think it makes them feel sophisticated or something.

The parent in me could care less about these, but the teacher in me is driven crazy by mechanical pencils.

They always seem to run out of lead when it's time to take notes! LOL! Kids love these things.

Why not let them live a little? As long as they are #2 mechanical pencils, no worries.

#7) Pencils

Never leave out a pack of good old fashioned pencils. When those mechanical pencils loose lead in the middle of taking notes, it's good to have a backup plan.

If your thinking, that's too many pencils, think again. Math teachers still require students to write in pencil. It's Math for crying out loud!

I'll pause any lesson for the sound of a pencil being freshly sharpened.

#8) Highlighters

Highlighters will never go out of style, good teachers require them. Students should take notes in just about every class.

No teacher can complain about a student that takes notes and knows how to highlight the main points.

Most teachers will teach students how to highlight the main points, so these will definitely come in handy for multiple classes.

#9) Markers

This is a must have for multiple classes. Art is not the only place your kid is going to have engaging projects and presentations.

Markers will be a great addition to your list and I guarantee will have use in more than 1 class.

#10) Color Pencils

So the skin tone color pencils is just a fun buy. I thought these were so cool and gave students confidence whenever they had to color people in projects and illustrations.

However, the erasable color pencils are highly recommended. To many times I have seen kids work on an assignment and mess up, then they try to grab another sheet.

Teacher pet peeve! ............We only have so many copies allotted to an account each month, I tell you no lies..........once we use them up we are hustling for copy points.

Do us all a favor and try these erasable color pencils!

#11) Leak Free Thermal Lunch Bag

If your kid takes their lunch, this thermal control leak free lunch bag will come in handy. Ever had a kid's drink spill in their lunch bag and they stuck their lunch bag in the backpack, yeah, not pretty.

At least if your kid "accidentally" does this, the liquid will stay in the lunch bag. It will change your life!

#12) 1" Binders

This 1" binder is great for housing notes. Many times students will take handwritten notes and will also get handouts, this is a great place to but them all so they can survive the backpack monster.

You know the one that eats the study guides right before the test.

#13) 5 Star Notebook with Dividers

If you have a kid that really struggles with keeping organized, try a 5 star notebook with dividers.

It has college rule paper already handy and you can move the dividers to allow for more paper in the subject that your kid takes the most notes.

#14) ID Holder with Lanyard

Want to stop buying IDs every other week? Try these cute ID holders with the lanyard. I know, I know, the school is going to give you a lanyard. But, are they going to give you a durable one, with a ID protective cover?

Yeah, I didn't think so!

#15) Ruler and Protractor Set

Ok, so the Math teacher in me has popped out again. Believe it or not, I had to buy protractors and rulers for my class myself. Many of my students didn't know how to use a protractor by the time they made it to my class.

These were some pretty smart kids, too!

Most districts do not provide these things for teachers. And, ......teachers are not "ballin out of control." This set will come in handy in Art, Science, and Math class.

#16) Scissors

Yes, we use scissors in middle school. To go along with that large capacity pencil case, throw in a pair of scissors.

#17) Glue Sticks

These scented glue sticks are harmless and fun to use. When you're working hard on a project and need to take a minute to smile. You won't regret this purchase.

My kids are 14 and 17 and they still love these scented glue sticks. It's the little things!

#18) Portable Hand Sanitizer

I love these hand sanitizer holders because you can buy hand sanitizer in bulk, which is cheaper, then refill these little bottles.

You can then attach them anywhere. School is germy, this will definitely come in handy.

#19) Facial Tissue Holder

Ok..... so, this is an awesome buy for a student or for anyone. I love this thing! Facial tissue holder, for those of us that suffer with allergies. It is water proof and you can buy facial tissue in bulk and refill this handy pouch.

It keeps your tissue clean and dry in your purse or backpack.

#20) Planner

If your kid is going to brick and mortar school this is going to save your lives. Organization is an important part of being a good student. Help your kids keep up with projects and test each week with this simple weekly planner.

Some schools provide a planner in the beginning of the school year with school fees, but most don't.

This budget friendly planner works for it's cost, especially if you have a kid that's working on their organization skills.

*This article contains affiliate links. At no cost to you, I may receive a commission for items you choose to purchase through this article.


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