Summer flew by and now you are scrambling to assemble everything your kids need to head back to school. Back to school shopping season is second only to the holiday season for spending. A recent study estimates that Americans will spend $27 billion on school supplies this year, spending between $458 and $532 per child, on average. You can take a bite out of this budget-buster by shopping around for the best deals on your kids’ essentials. Checking all of your go-to retailers—such as Walmart and Target—for back to school sales and looking into others you may not have considered—like Office Max and Office Depot—can help stretch your budget. Of course, you can’t forget about Amazon; getting great deals without fighting the crowds is a definite plus. From glue and pencils to backpacks and lunch gear, check out these must-haves that you can grab on the cheap from Amazon without leaving the house. A quick note: Amazon's prices fluctuate often. At the time of publication, these prices were accurate, however, they might shift throughout the week! Keep an eye on your shopping cart to ensure you're still getting a good deal.
1. Glue Sticks
When you have elementary- or preschool-aged kids, you can never have too many glue sticks (especially if you have multiple kiddos). Nab this box of 30 Elmer’s brand glue sticks for $7.88 and you’ll be set for the school year. When you buy in bulk, you're able to pay just a quarter per glue stick!
2. Crayola Kits
Your budding artist will love this Crayola Core Pack. With packs of crayons, colored pencils and washable markers for $13.18, this set would be ideal to divvy up between children of different ages, as well.
3. Pre-sharpened Pencils
How many times will you here, “Mom, I have homework but I can’t find any pencils” before October? Snatch this box of 144 number two pencils for $13.69 (that’s less than a dime per pencil). Bonus: they are already sharpened.
4. Mechanical Pencils
Does your student prefer to write with something more high tech? Check out this pack of mechanical pencils in assorted colors. You can get a dozen for$1.99 and they are refillable, to boot.
5. Construction Paper
On virtually every elementary school teacher’s supply list, construction paper is a fundamental back-to-school item for the younger kiddos. For just under $10, you can buy a pack of 500 pages in an assortment of 10 vivid colors.
Chances are good your kids won’t settle for any old boring backpack. Amazon offers a plethora of colors and stylish designs with options for every budget. Case in point: this fashionably cute dotted backpack by Everest also comes in a more rugged prism design for only $10.83 each.
7. Lunch Bags
Lunchboxes and bags seem to be statement pieces, as well, but they don’t have to break the bank. Check out these appealing Zramo insulated bags. They are available in four unique designs and currently start at just $5.90.
Keep the beverages cold or the mac and cheese warm with an insulated container. Amazon has countless options, including these appealing and practical Thermos brand insulated jars. They are available in three colors, come with a cool collapsible spoon and cost just $8.56.
Bento boxes are so in and they’re perfect for the picky eater who can’t handle one food touching another. This container with four compartments plus a lidded bowl and convenient handle comes in pink, blue or white and costs $6.49.
10. Lunchbox Snacks
You’ve got all the gear, now you need the goodies. Don’t overlook Amazon when figuring out what to pack in your kids’ lunches. Look for cheap deals on bulk packs of your children’s favorites, such as a 36-count box of assorted Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels for $8.16 or a tub of individually-wrapped two-packs of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies for $13.97. Then again, maybe you should stash the cookies away for yourself. After all, back-to-school shopping is hard work.