25 January 2016

Back to School | Stationary on a Budget

Hey guys!

So going back to school can be really expensive. Like, really expensive. In primary school I would get my school book list, and everything on it would cost around $100 or more. The annoying thing was that once you got to school, most of the items on the list you would use once (like the four highlighters I was required to buy in Year 4...I still have them to this day!). I remember when I was in Year 8, we had to purchase this maths mentals book. My sister had had this book when she was in Year 8, and she had only done four sheets in the entire book, so I just went through and erased all of her answers and used her book for myself!!

Now I am in high school, I find that (I don't know if this is just at my school, or at all schools) we are left to our own devices when it comes to buying the things we need for school. I think at this point, the teachers just think, "As long as you can take notes, I don't care how you do it." . I love having this freedom, as it means I am able to change my notetaking methods as much as I want to, until I find something that works for me. Another things this freedom means is that I am able to spend as little or as much as I want on school stationary.

Most years, I have spent the absolute minimum I can on school stationary, and I have always gone for the most basic items, as these are generally the cheapest. However, this year is my last year in high school, and I thought that I would treat myself to nicer stationary this year. Although nice stationary is generally expensive, I made this post with the intention of proving that you can have nice stationary without blowing the bank.

 The first thing I am going to talk about is this laptop bag. First of all, HOW HARD IS IT TO FIND A DECENT LAPTOP BAG??? I went to all of the big department stores, like Kmart, Big W, and Target, in search of a laptop bag. And you know, what with it being back to school season, I expected that in the school bag section, there would be some laptop bags. NOPE. The only bags I could find in the school sections were either Dora the Explorer or One Direction. So then I spent my entire evening on Google trying to find a store that sells relatively cheap laptop bags. Then I saw this one, in Good Guys for $18. When I went into the store to buy it, they were selling it for $59 - triple the price!! Fortunately, when I showed them the online price they matched it. I am really happy with this bag as it is quite roomy, which is perfect because I always carry much more than I end up needing (let's just say I like to be prepared for any given situation!!). There are seven compartments in this bag, which I really like. I particularly like the fact that this is a messenger bag, which means there is a second closure, so if I have so much in my bag that the zip won't close, there is a sort of secondary closure. I'm just hoping this bag is more durable than my bag last year, and I won't have anymore bag disasters!!

The first thing here is a binder by a brand called Marbig. This binder isn't much of a luxury stationary item, but I think the colour of it is really pretty, and I like that there are those little pockets on the inside of the binder, where, at the moment, I am keeping my timetable. I also like that this binder is really flexible, so you can fold the cover back. The only thing I don't like is that the binder doesn't have that clip thing that holds the paper down, so they do sometimes flop around, but it's not that big of an issue. This was $4.00 in Big W. Also from Big W, I set of dividers. I got a packet of 10-tab plastic dividers (I really hate dividers that have any part of them made from paper, because they aren't as durable as the plastic ones). I did only put 8 in my binder, because I only have 8 classes. These were in pretty rainbow colours. I don't know how much they were exactly, but I think they were $3.00.
Also for the binder, I got a 200-sheet packet of binder paper. I'll be honest, the only reason I really bought this one in particular was because I loved the colourful reinforcement strip along the side of it. This particular packet of paper is by a brand called ColourHide, which is generally white a good brand. The paper came with four different coloured strips, those colours being pink, blue, green and purple. This was a bit pricier than other packets of loose leaf paper, at $5 for a packet. I intend to use the lined paper for all my classes except for Maths. For my Maths class, I got this binder book of grid paper, which was surprisingly hard to find. I would have thought that a 5mm grid book would be a school staple for heaps of people, but I could only find this book in Target, which was only $1.50.

2016 Diary

Yearly Planner

2-Year Calendar

Address Book

Daily View

Possibly one of the most important stationary items for me is my diary. I spend the entire year trying to decide on next year's diary!! Originally, for senior year I wanted to buy the Kikki K Student Diary, but bored in class last year, I showed my friend and asked him what he thought of it, and he told me, "You'll spend more time playing with it and organising it than you will actually using it.", which is very true. I chose a more simpler day-to-a-page diary, which was $12 from Target. What I particularly liked about this one was that it wasn't spiral bound, as my spiral bound diary last year got old and tatty very quickly. This diary has a really pretty rainbow geometric cover, and it is a day-to-a-page diary. In 2014, I had a Day-to-a-Page diary, but I felt it was too big and bulky, so the next year I tried Week-to-a-View. However, I found with the weekly diary I did not have enough space to write the notes I wanted to write, which resulted in me opting for a daily diary this year. This one has a day for each page, as well as a yearly planner view, a two year calendar view, and plenty of space to write contacts.

This is the pencil case I chose for this year. It's by a brand called Molli & Mimi, It's a nice faux-leather-y material in mint green with white polka dots. The lining of it is a pastel pink, which matches the little tag on the zipper. This is quite a small pencil case, but I thought that this would be good for me, as I always carry far more stationary than I need to carry. This cost me $5.00 from Target.

Next I have this pack of highlighters. These are by Stablio, and they were $3.97 in Big W. I am not too particular with regards to highlighters. As long as I have several colours, I am happy, but I liked these once because they were the thin ones, and I think they'll be easier to hold than the big thick ones.

The final item that I bought is this pack of give slim gel pens from Kikki K. They are from the Cute range, which is in fact one of my favourite Kikki K ranges. I really like the individual pens they sell because they have very scratchy nibs, which I love, so I am hoping that these pens will have that same scratchy nib. These were $9.95, but I had a $10 gift voucher when I bought these, so they cost me nothing!

That is everything I bought. I have four tips for you to keep in mind when doing back to school shopping:

  • For larger items (e.g. school bag, laptop, etc.), if you find the item you are looking for online, the online price can sometimes be cheaper than the in-store price. If this is the case, take your phone into the store with the online price on there, and generally they will price match it
  • If there is a particular stationary store that you like (for example, Kikki K), sign up for their online membership club. This way, you often get gift vouchers, which can make stationary shopping a lot cheaper
  • Never order the supplies from the supplier the school recommends. My mum used to do this for me when I was in primary school, but everything is way overpriced from these stockists
  • Go to more than one shop before you buy anything, and take down a list of the prices for everything in each store. That way, you are able to find which store has the best prices.

That is it! I am so sorry that this is the one school-related post this year, but I have been very busy recently with two (currently) super-secret projects, which I will hopefully be able to share with you soon.

Good luck on your first day back at school, and I will talk to you at the end of the week letting you know how my first week back was!