If you’ve already tackled your school supply shopping, you probably know that there are plenty of things in the aisles that you have to pass up because they’re just not on the list.
You may have also found that your kids are asking for things they’ve seen others bring to school, like locker accessories or cool toppers for their pencils.
But many families will likely be scaling back the number of “extra” school supplies they bring home this year. According to the National Retail Federation, parents will spend less on school supplies in 2015 than they have in previous years.
The federation’s Back-to-School Spending Survey found that the average family with children in grades K-12 plans to spend $630.36 on electronics, apparel and other school needs in 2015, which is down from $669.28 in 2014. Total spending is expected to reach $24.9 billion, the federation reports.
And will parents be swayed by their kids’ requests for certain items? The survey found that 86.4 percent of school shoppers say their children will influence one-quarter or more of their back-to-school purchases.
While there’s a wide range of extra supplies and accessories that kids don’t need really for school, it’s important to note that sometimes a small “unnecessary” item like a backpack accessory or even a locket that holds a photo of mom and dad can make all the difference for a child who’s hesitant about going back to school. For these families, a few extra “fun” supplies could be well worth the cost.
For everyone else, though, here’s a look at a few back-to-school items that you can probably skip this year.
1. Locker wallpaper
$24.45 at Wal-Mart
We can’t deny that this locker wallpaper adds a little personality to an otherwise dull-looking locker and it’s helpful that the decals are fully removable incase a locker partner or principal takes issue with it. But at almost $25, it’s money could be spent on something a little more practical. Instead, consider this locker dry-erase board for $5.49 at Office Depot with a similar cool zebra print.
2. Feet-Shaped Paperclips
$4.72 at Amazon.com
These colorful paperclips are shaped like little feet. What’s not to love? You can also get paperclips shaped like stars or the thumbs-up sign. But let’s face it, paperclips probably aren’t even on your child’s school supply list and this pack only comes with 20 (just imagine how fast they’d get lost). And if paperclips are on your list, you could get this pack of 450 multicolor paperclips for $5.29.
3. Block Notes Sticky Memo Pads
$10.29 at Amazon.com
Kids who love Tetris will appreciate the design of these sticky notes, but they look a little difficult to write on because of the shapes. Plus, when was the last time your child used sticky notes at school? Assuming your kids don’t need sticky memo pads, instead you might consider these notes that could make your lunch notes a lot more fun (or possibly more embarrassing) for $4.50 at Amazon.com.
4. Inkology Bug Eye Pencil Pouch Monsters
Kids will usually need a pencil case, but spending so much on one with such a unique design might be a mistake if your child tires of it before the school year is over. We’re also not sure how practical it is for holding enough pencils and not taking up too much space. For a pencil case with personality, try these Pottery Barn Kids pencil cases that are on sale for $7, come in a wide range of designs and can be personalized.
5. Multicolor Rocket Pen
These pens look really cool but pencils are obviously better suited for school and the rocket shape might actually make writing more difficult. Instead, let your child add a little flair with a pack of fun pencil toppers that are also erasers, like these rocket-shaped eraser toppers or these cupcake-shaped erasers.