Here’s How to Save Money on the 5 Weird School Supplies Kids Are Begging For

A kid creates a colorful calendar.
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Parents, have you noticed how your kids’ school supplies keep getting fancier and fancier?

All those markers and notebooks keep adding more glitter and sparkles. More bells and whistles — more pizzazz.

Take the state of glue, for example. Back when your father was in kindergarten, Little Junior probably made do with plain standard white Elmer’s glue. Then came colored glue. Then came glitter glue. And now we have glow-in-the-dark Elmer’s glue, which is excellent for making glow-in-the-dark slime.

Hey, kids just want to express their individuality, so you might as well get them what they really want. Here’s how to spend less on five of 2019’s hottest school supplies.

Comparison Shop

While shopping online may seem tempting, I still prefer to buy my kids’ school supplies in person in the store, with my kids there. That’s because I remember when I was a little kid, going back-to-school shopping with my mom, choosing just the right Trapper Keeper.

It turns out that most parents are like me, according to Deloitte’s annual survey on the subject.

C’mon, this is quality parent-kid time here, people! Let’s get out there and make some memories!

I spot-checked prices at a number of stores that are located near The Penny Hoarder’s offices in St. Petersburg, Florida. I personally found that Walmart had all the products at great prices.

If you’re like me and have multiple children and multiple school supply lists to fill, getting everything at low prices is important.

1. Glow-in-the-Dark Elmer’s Glue

Courtesy of Walmart

For your kids, it’s all about the slime with this stuff. It makes great glow-in-the-dark slime.

A personal note: I have twin 9-year-old daughters, and they absolutely LOVE slime.

Anyway, this brightly colored, glowing, sticky gunk comes in blue, pink or white.

Price: A 5-ounce bottle costs $4.47 at my local Walmart.

2. Scented Crayola Markers

Photograph courtesy of Walmart

Not your father’s writing implement. These Crayola Silly Scents colored markers come in scents like cotton candy, blueberry, pineapple and caramel. Naturally, they cost more than your basic pack of markers. But they’re way, way more fun!

They sell scented pencils and crayons too, just in case you’re in the market for a lemon-scented pencil or a coconut-scented crayon.

Price: As of this writing, a pack of 10 markers costs $2.97 at Walmart.

3. ZIPIT Wildlings Jumbo Pencil Pouch

Photograph courtesy of Walmart

Kids like to be able to show their individuality! They can express themselves by personalizing things like pencil pouches and binders.

Pencil pouches are a big deal because your kid’s pencils, pens and other supplies have to travel with them from place to place throughout the school day. They need to be able to keep all that stuff in one place.

It shouldn’t surprise you that there are about a billion different pencil pouches and pencil cases on the market. This particular one might look like freaky to you, but kids love these things.

Price: $9.99. ZIPIT’s Wildlings pencil cases come in a variety of fun options, all of them with goofy eyes and a hidden zipper smile that appears whenever you open up the pouch. At Walmart, they range from $6.88 to $9.99.

4. Yoobi Decorative Notebooks

Photograph courtesy of Walmart

Unicorns and rainbows and llamas seem to be popular themes when it comes to notebook covers.

This particular one is a Yoobi “Multicolor Doodle” notebook.

Price: This one is exclusive to Walmart and is a bargain at $2.97. In fact, Walmart has a whole assortment of these Yoobi notebooks priced at $2.97.

5. The Happy Planner

Photograph courtesy of Walmart

If your student is getting a little older, he or she might need a planner to keep track of all their classes, projects, after-school groups, sports and activities.

Nothing too serious, though. They don’t need a dead-serious, buttoned-down office planner. There’ll be plenty of time for that later in life.

The Happy Planner is a customizable disc-bound planner system that combines your kid’s love of creativity with their need for organization.

This company makes themed planners, some of which are specifically for students. They come in three different sizes. It’s easy to add or remove pages, and to add accessories like stickers or sticky notes to add personality.

Price: This one is $20.88.

Walmart Savings Tips

You might be more willing to splurge on cool school supplies if you can get a better deal.

Here are a couple of tips for shopping at Walmart:

Get Online Prices in the Store

Before you buy something at the checkout counter, it’s worth whipping out your phone and seeing whether Walmart is offering an even better price online. It’s easy to use the website’s handy search function.

Because here’s something you may not know: Walmart will match its online prices for in-store purchases. To get the better price, just pull it up on your phone and show it to the cashier. Seriously, they’ll give you the online price with no hassle. They know the score.

Shop Online for Price-Matching

If you’re shopping online, Walmart.com’s price matching policy is that if you find a lower price for the same item from a different online retailer, Walmart will match it.

Note: I shopped in July 2019 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Prices and availability will vary by location and may have changed since.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He does like a bargain.