9 Back-to-School Essentials That Are Worth a Splurge


When it comes to buying school supplies, we all love a good deal (anyone else do the equivalent of a touchdown dance at the checkout counter?), but we also know that you get what you pay for, so there are some things you shouldn’t skimp on. By all means, go ahead and buy the cheap notepaper and dinky character-themed pencil cases your kids desperately want, but the following items are worth shelling out more $$ for (especially when you pay using your BuyPower Card from Capital One and build earnings toward a new GM vehicle!).


Here’s our list of nine surprising school essentials worth splurging on.

1. A backpack. A good backpack can last several years, whereas a bad one is a ticking time-bomb of jammed zippers, loose straps, holey pockets, and . . . smells. Go for quality and you won’t be sorry. And with longevity in mind, look for patterns that will outlast whatever trends your kids are into this month; you don’t want the backpack to mysteriously go “missing” when Pokémon jumps the shark.

2. A lunchbox. Lunch technology has come a long way since paper sacks, and it’s our duty as modern parents to take full advantage of it. When choosing a lunchbox, look for durable, washable, non-leaking containers and bags at minimum. If you’re feeling fancy, go for handy extras such as insulation, built-in ice packs, and coordinating water bottles and thermoses. The only thing that could be better is if they packed themselves!

3. Lunch food. Let me give it to you straight: You’re not going to save money buying whatever food is on sale at the store each week if your kid won’t eat it. Food that ends up in the trash is wasted money, so go on and give yourself permission to spend a little more on snacks and lunch items that will actually make it into your kid’s belly.

4. Crayons. If you’ve ever colored with a random mystery crayon at a kid-friendly restaurant or in the waiting room of the pediatric dentist, you know firsthand that subpar crayons are downright tragic. The breakage! The crumbling! The humanity! Trust that the only thing more satisfying than a fresh box of pristine crayons is knowing you bought the kind that will work like a dream.

5. Pencils. Help your kid spend more time in her seat than at the sharpener by investing (yes, investing) in good pencils. Enthusiasts are welcome to go to town researching graphite hardness, lead width, and various wood varieties, but others might prefer to cut to the chase with a set of slick mechanical pencils. These ain’t your grandma’s No. 2s, and that’s a good thing.

6. Erasers. School is all about making mistakes and then learning how to fix them. But a bad eraser can make things worse, not better, so make sure you arm your kid with top-notch erasers from Day 1. No need to search the world over for handcrafted, artisanal, organic erasers made by exotic eraser-making fairies, just get ones that won’t crumble into rubber dust or smudge your kid’s homework into oblivion. 

7. Folders. Just stay yes to buying sturdy plastic folders that will last all year without ripping, disintegrating, or otherwise self-destructing with your kids’ final projects inside. Protect your kids’ work before you wreck your kids’ work, yo.

8. Shoes. For all the time they spend behind desks during the school day, kids also do a lot of hard playing when they’re not in class. When I say it’s worth splurging on shoes, remember: It’s not about fashion (okay, it’s sometimes about fashion) but about quality. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find the sweet spot between “well-made shoes that won’t break the bank” and “shoes that cost a fortune and will last forever but that will be too small in six months so what even is the point.”

9. Name labels. If you splurge on any of the above, you’ll want to take extra precautions to ensure nothing gets lost. Slapping some name labels on everything is so much easier than using a fat permanent marker to write your kid’s name in microprint on every single one of her belongings. Just spring for the name labels and pat yourself on the back for being the world’s smartest mom.

When you pay for school supplies like these wWith the BuyPower Card from Capital One, you can turn anything you buy into earnings you’ll be saving toward a new Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac! There’s no limit on the amount you can earn or redeem, and your earnings Earnings don’t expire.  You’ll earn 5% on the first $5,000 in purchases every year, and unlimited 2% earnings on all purchases after that. Apply now


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