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  • Writer's pictureJodie Finney

School Supplies – Crayola vs the world!!

Updated: Aug 3, 2019

With mixed emotion, summer is coming to an end and school supply shopping is on the horizon. I have reached out to teachers to talk school supplies and the debate – Name Brand vs. Bargain Brand.

Note: August 2nd-4th is Tax-Free weekend for Missouri and Oklahoma and August 3rd-4th for Arkansas. For more information about what qualifies for tax-exempt head to the MO department of Revenue.

One thing I have learned over the years is to save reusable items. At the end of the school year, I go through the girl's stuff and save what I can. In the past, I have bought good quality back packs, plastic folder, binders, containers, scissors, and pencil cases. It has been an investment, but I have been able to reuse them for several years. It has helped save me quite a bit of money.

Regardless of what I reuse, there is always a need to buy more school supplies. I want to get the kids what they need, but I have four kids, and this can get pricey quickly.

So, I asked elementary teachers and searched the internet and here is my report:

The majority of the teachers said, YES. The brand names do better than the bargain brands. They last longer and work better. That said, there are supplies you can substitute without too much difference.

Group One: These were the supplies that all the teachers said NOT to skimp on.

Crayons: the cheaper brands constantly break and don't color as well. Buy Crayola, they are worth the money.

Pencils: Similarly, the cheaper brands are hard to sharpen and have terrible erasers. One teacher gave a great quote, "For the love of classroom harmony, please get the good quality pencils." Thanks, Michelle M. Several teachers mentioned getting the pre-sharpened pencils and there is no need to have a personal pencil sharpener, they just make a huge mess.

Group Two: These were the name brand items you would want to buy if you had the budget.

Dry Erase Markers: Expo erasers are better; they erase better than the other brands, but not a deal-breaker.

Glue: Yes, Elmers does a better job, but Target brand comes out second best. Overall, the teachers had mixed reviews.

Markers: Crayola markers do last longer. That said, this also came with mixed reviews. The younger kids are going to dry markers out faster regardless because they cannot put the tops back on for the life of them. (I mean seriously, forget the strength needed to put the lid on; this is one of the most frustrating things as a mom. I can't image how frustrating the teachers must be.) Put the Z#$DS!* cap on!

Colored pencils: Crayola pencils color better, break less and sharpen easier. But again, you could definitely get away with a bargain brand here.

Group Three: These are items that brand does not matter.

Loose leaf paper, binders, notebooks, scissors, containers, and pencil cases. All the teachers said as long as you buy the proper quantity that is asked, you are fine. The brand does not matter at all.

All the teachers reminded me to mention not to forget to donate to your local school supply drive. This helps all the underprivileged children that don't have the school supplies they need to learn effectively. Search Google for your local charity or donation locations. St. Louis residents - two charities that collect school supplies are The Little Bit Foundation or KidsSmart Click name for link.

To simplify your life as much as possible, I have all these products on my website; both brand names and bargain brands. For the families that enjoy a fun back to school splurge my kids and I love both the back to school banners and lunch box notes from Cheree Berry Paper. Use the code SCHOOLTIME for a 15% discount at check out. Happy shopping!

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