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5 Essential School Supplies Worth the Extra Cost


5 Essential School Supplies Worth the Extra Cost

After 8 years in college (undergrad and grad school), I have finally designed the perfect list of school supplies. The past 20 semesters (summer school included) have given me plenty of time to figure out what I need, don’t need, and what keeps me the most organized.

My first year at college, my class schedule was 8:00-6:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays…with no breaks. So essentially, I had to carry everything with me all day long! My backpack weighed literally 30 pounds and my shoulders were covered in bruises all semester long. I learned my lesson quickly!

Here is my list of essential school supplies. They have ended up saving me so much money, stress, and time over the years that it made the initial cost worth every penny! Like Trent always says, “buy once, cry once”!

This planner is one that effectively keeps track of every part of your life!

The Happy Planner! This planner is amazing! It is definitely worth the money and my favorite of the five school supplies.  
The greatest part of the Happy Planner is that you can build it to hold whatever you want!

For mine, I have an 18 month calendar and put to-do lists in the middle of each month. The week is broken down into three sections which I use for school, life, and blog.

I also have a section for my practicum, which is the to-do list broken down by time. This helps me to keep track of my hours for graduation. I have other sections not pictured also such as notepad paper for doodles and brain dumps and budgeting/savings worksheets. The best part is making it super cute with stickers everywhere!

There are three different sizes and I prefer the largest one, so the middle and small sizes are cheaper than the large one. Michael’s sale prices and Amazon prices are comparable to each other. The accessories like stickers and such are most definitely cheaper on Amazon!

Total cost for my Happy Planner – $53

Microsoft Office – this one program in particular

Microsoft Office offers a free version for students! You get Word, Powerpoint, Excel, OneNote, and Microsoft Teams, this includes other educational tools as well! All you need is a valid student email.

Obviously, every student knows about Word, Powerpoint, and Excel, but do you know about OneNote? OneNote is my absolute favorite computer program on the face of this Earth! That might be a little dramatic, but it’s true! I haven’t used an actual notebook in years.


OneNote is a digital notebook in the Microsoft Office program. There are so many components to this program. You can write on it, make graphs, screenshot websites to paste and highlight on, etc. It does everything.

Now for the different sections labeled in the picture!

  1. This is where you keep all your separate notebooks. As you can see, I have one for each course and my blog posts.
  2. This is where you separate each notebook into sections. I break up my sections by weekly classes.
  3. This is the add page section. I make a separate page for a topic brought up in class that needs to be focused on a little more in depth. This is where I add extra questions I may have, detailed notes, and screenshot different websites with further information on it.

Total cost for Microsoft Office for students – FREE

Total cost for Microsoft Office for home/work – $99.99/year or $9.99/month

This bag can be used for everything!


This Vera Bradley Get Carried Away Tote is perfect for everything! Since I have practicum during the day and classes at night, I am hardly ever home. This bag is big enough to carry my laptop, lunch and snacks, my planner, a sweater, and much more!

It has 8 interior pockets and 4 exterior pockets. The dimensions are 17.50″ w x 15.50″ h x 12.50″ strap drop. It’s plenty big and plenty durable to withstand your schedule throughout the entire school year! It comes in a multitude of patterns as well.

Vera Bradley always has huge sales going on, especially if you sign up for the text messages! They send coupons regularly to get the best deal possible. Very rarely do I ever pay full price for a Vera bag.

The total cost of the Vera Bradley Get Carried Away Tote – $108

The laptop that is perfect for everything

The Microsoft Surface Laptop is one of the hottest laptops on the market right now.

This laptop has a touchscreen option, Omnisonic Speakers, a 13.5″ PixelSense Display, an Alcantara fabric-covered keyboard, and fast-charging battery with lengthy battery life.

I’m not one for the tech-y stuff, that’s my hubby’s job! I know that I love this laptop. This is what the Air Force uses for their training courses and such. It’s perfect for anything you may need to use it for and for any future career field.

They also have a 10% student discount rate!!

Starting cost for the Microsoft Surface Laptop before the 10% discount – $799

I saved the best school supply for last…

The perfect cozy oversized cardigan for those cold classrooms! If you haven’t heard, I have dubbed myself the #cardiganqueen. I collect cardigans and have 25-30 of them! Here is my favorite one 🙂 Isn’t it pretty?
oversized cardgian

Anywho, that one is discontinued 🙁 but here is one I found that is perfect for the classroom!

It’s beautiful! It’s oversized and cozy, it has pockets, and it’s large enough for you to curl up in it if needed! This cardigan is going to be a staple piece in your college career!

Total cost of the H&M oversized cardigan – $34.99

These five school supplies are the only five I have used for the past four years. They have been so worth the money and have simplified everything I needed for school SO much. It’s a minimalist approach to school and the lack of stress (for not losing track of notes at least) is so refreshing.

What school supplies are your must-haves for the year? Do you prefer pen and paper or to go fully digital?

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on any of these links, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for your support and good luck on your journey!

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