The Best Cheap School Supplies You Can Get for Under $20

Get organized early with these fun and functional steals!

cheap school supplies
Paper Mate

School might be out for the summer, but it won't be long until it's back in session! Here's a list of all the cheap school supplies you'll need, from backpacks and lunch boxes to pens and pencils.

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AmazonBasics
AmazonBasics Classic Backpack
$17.82

This basic backpack features a built-in laptop pocket, water bottle pockets on both sides, and padded straps for added comfort. It comes in tons of color options, and it has both an external and an internal zip pocket where you can store smaller essentials.

More: Best Backpacks for Kids of All Ages

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Five Star
Five Star 5-Subject, College-Ruled Spiral Notebook
$21.10

If you don't love carrying around three-ring binders, this five-subject notebook is an excellent alternative. Each subject is separated by a different colored tab that's actually moveable, so if you need more paper for certain classes, you can adjust accordingly. Each tab also has a sleeve where you can put papers, syllabi, or a title page for each class.

But if you just want a set of six regular spiral notebooks, we've got you covered here too!

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HDE Food-Shaped USB Flash Drive
$12.99

Flash drives might not seem like a particularly relevant school supply in the age of email, Google Docs, and Dropbox, but you'd be surprised how handy they can be when you're on school computers and the internet is acting up. In the case that you really need to save something or send it to yourself, you'll be happy to have one of these around. (Plus, they're kinda hilarious!)

More: Save Your Work on One of These USB Flash Drives

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Bentology Leak-Proof Bento Lunch Box
$12.99

This lunch box will slide right into your backpack without taking up too much space. It features five removable containers, three of which come with leakproof lids for liquids and messier foods. All you have to do is pack each container, close the top of the box with or without the extra lids, and it'll hold your food in place. If you want to keep it insulated, you can get the corresponding Bentology insulated carrying case for just $13.

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JanSport
Jansport Burrito Pencil Pouch
$17.54

This burrito pencil pouch unrolls to reveal an elastic strap meant to hold pens and pencils, plus a mesh pocket where you can keep headphones, mini staplers, flash drives and other small items. Be careful, though, because a friend or jealous nemesis will probably attempt to steal it.

If you're looking for a more basic option, you might want to check out this case.

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BIC
BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ball Pen
$5.29

Listen. You will be tempted to buy some fancy $12 black pens that come in a three-pack. Resist that urge. You're 100% going to lose your pens and pencils all the time, so don't bother getting the expensive kinds! These cheap black ballpoint pens are all you need, we promise!

More: Stylish Pen and Pencil Cases Under $20

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Yansanido
Yansanido Mini Panda Stapler
$6.40

Why would you want to use a plain mini stapler when you can use this super cute panda?! It staples through as many as seven pages at a time, and it comes with a pack of 1,000 mini staples, so you'll basically never run out.

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Paper Mate
Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pens
$8.89

If you love to color-code your notes or planner (or just love to doodle), these pens are nothing short of amazing. They glide along the page smoothly, and the vibrant ink dries quickly for smudge-free notes and drawings. The 10-pack is the best deal for the price, but you can opt for larger or smaller packs as well. If the old-school pastel kinds are your favorite, check out this set for $15.

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Five Star
Five Star Graph-Ruled Spiral Notebook
$6.79

You'll probably need at least one graph-ruled notebook for your math class. This one is hole-punched, so you can put it in a three-ring binder if you choose, and it also has easy-tear pages.

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BIC
BIC Extra Strong #2 Mechanical Pencils
$8.98

This 10-pack will last you the whole year, assuming you don't lose them left and right (and even if you do, they're pretty cheap). They're standard #2 pencils, so you can even use these to take standardized exams without an issue.

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Five Star
Five Star Advance Student Academic Planner 2018-2019
$14.66

This planner definitely wins out for practicality, writing space, and size. It might not be the prettiest, but when you're carrying around a ton of crap in your backpack every day, it's important that the one thing you need to bring to every single class won't be a burden to carry. Plus, with a solid color base, you can always decorate it yourself.

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eBoot Neon Page Markers
$4.59

You probably won't be able to mark up most of your textbooks with highlighter, but these neon index tabs are a great alternative. They're even transparent so you won't cover up any text, and half of them come shaped with a pointed edge, so you can make note of specific quotes as well as whole blocks of text.

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Bazic
Bazic Colorful Ruler 4-Pack
$3.00

These rulers come with pre-punched holes, which are really handy if you use a three-ring binder to hold your math notes. They'll also fit in regular folders, but if you want a foldable ruler that'll fit in your pencil case, check out this one.

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Case-it
Case-it Mighty Zip Tab 3-Inch Zipper Binder
$25.99

This binder will hold pretty much all your school supplies and notes in one place. It includes five color-tabbed expanding files so you can store handouts, plus it has plenty of pockets to store pens, pencils, calculators, staplers, etc. Just make sure you get a set of dividers for your notes and plenty of loose-leaf paper.

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Texas Instruments TI-30XS MultiView Scientific Calculator
$14.98

If all you need is a basic scientific calculator, this one is an excellent choice. But the truth is that you'll probably have to buy a graphing calculator, which will definitely cost more than $20. If that's the case for you, this is the best graphing option.

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Sharpie
Sharpie Accent Retractable Highlighters
$7.14

This pack of eight highlighters will definitely help liven up your books (at least the ones you're allowed to write in) and keep your study notes organized. They're smudge-proof, and the tip is thin enough that it won't run onto the next line of text when you're highlighting in small-print books (take it from someone for whom that is a major pet peeve!).

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JAM Papers Eco Folders 6-Pack
$9.99

These two-pocket plastic folders will keep your handouts and assignments safe, and they won't tear or bend in your backpack. If you use a binder and prefer to stick your folders in there, check out this pack with pre-punched holes.

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Anker
Anker PowerCore+ Mini Portable Charger
$18.99

If you're involved in sports or other after-school extracurriculars, you probably know what a nightmare it is when your phone unexpectedly dies on you and you're too far from an outlet to charge it. Keep a backup handy with this lipstick-sized external battery that only requires a basic Lightning cable to use.

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Avery Durable View Binder
$6.04

A three-ring binder is a must-have at pretty much any age beyond elementary school. This 2-inch option should be large enough to hold as many subjects as you need — just don't forget to pick up some dividers.

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AmazonBasics Felt Laptop Sleeve
$11.99

If laptops are permitted in your classroom, you'll need a sleeve to protect yours from scratches (and from all the other random crap at the bottom of your backpack!). This one will last you for years to come, with a sleek felt finish and a suede interior. Choose from 11-, 13-, or 15.4-inch sizes.

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BIC
BIC Wite-Out Brand EZ Correct Correction Tape 4-Pack
$6.00

Made a mistake? No worries! This white-out tape is super easy to use, and because it dries instantly, it won't end up covering you in ink.

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Amazon
AmazonBasics Scissors
$8.79

This handy pack of three scissors made the cut for good reason! The 8-inch scissors cut everything from paper and cardboard to fabric and photos, and they're good for 100,000-plus cuts (that’s a whole lot of school projects)! Keep one at your desk, one in your locker, and one at home for a convenient cutting tool at your fingertips!

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Brother
Brother P-touch Label Maker
$19.99

This Brother Label Maker has your back for all of your organizational needs. We’re a big fan of this particular pick because of its graphic display, so you can see how your label will look before you print! You can also change up your font type and size — who knew organizing would be so much fun?

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Amazon
LuminoLite LED Book Light
$12.95

Light up your school life with this rechargeable book light that takes the eye strain out of studying. Its compact size and lightweight form make for a great travel companion — and let’s not forget about the three different brightness levels that you can adjust to your liking, depending on where you are.

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Amazon
Swingline Stapler Optima 25
$11.79

Keep your papers (and your life!) together with this user-friendly Swingline stapler. The reduced-effort design allows you to staple sheets efficiently and effectively with one simple click — all with a lifetime warranty. Score!