Never lose your flash drive again with Memory on Hand’s USB wristband, created by Babson College students in 2010.
There’s more to school supplies than plain composition notebooks or flimsy paper folders. While these favorites are cheap, they lack in both quality and style.
These next few weeks are considered “the largest shopping season next to the Christmas holidays,” and “retailers are hoping to get a piece of the $83.8 billion windfall projected by the National Retail Federation,” according to a recent USA TODAY article.
In fact, more shoppers will shop online to save money, according to the NRF’s 2012 back-to-school spending survey conducted by BIGinsight.
Despite the abundance of savings on basic (read: boring) back-to-school supplies, why use standard black or blue pens when you can use colorful gel pens to organize your notes? Or how about a silicone keyboard cover, which is especially useful for those late nights when you’re simultaneously snacking on greasy pizza and typing your essay?
Use that college freedom to your advantage by investing in smarter school supplies that reflect who you are and make working on assignments easier. Categorized by website, here are some of the best back-to-school supplies.
Founded in 2006 by three Stanford students, JetPens is a Japanese-themed stationery store that sells popular writing instruments and stationery products, including colorful and modern fountain pens and gel-ink pens that are “so thin they can write on a grain of rice,” said co-founder Lily Kim, 29.
While studying management science and engineering at Stanford, co-founders Shu Yao and Kim turned their love of gel-ink pens that had not been readily available in the United States into a “seven-digit revenue business without any additional investment,” Kim said.
Based in San Jose, Calif., JetPens now ships more than 100,000 orders every year to happy pen users and college students around the world, she said.
Featured item: Uni-ball Propus window soft-color, double-sided highlighter pen — $2.20 each or $8.25 for 5: For all those right-handed students, you know that highlighting can get messy when your hand gets in the way of seeing what you’re highlighting. Not only are these highlighters not as glaringly bright as others, but they also have a “window,” so you can see the text you’re highlighting, making cleaner marks that are softer on the eyes. Browse more of JetPens’ student favorites.
Amazon has always had a wide variety of college essentials. Although its college site offers basic school supplies, there are some hidden gems. Snag deals on the classic Moleskine notebooks and journals, and never lose your flash drive again with Memory on Hand’s USB wristband, created by Babson College students in 2010.
Featured item: Silicone keyboard cover — starting from $0.01: Silicone keyboard covers are dirt cheap, but they will save your keyboard from food crumbs and finger grease. These long-lasting covers are easy to clean with warm water and soap. Whether you own a Mac or a PC, these covers come in a variety of colors. As an added bonus, the covers mute your keys, so you don’t need to worry about disturbing your roommate or others in the library. See also: laptop covers and Vera Bradley laptop skins.
• The Container Store
Mentioned in a previous USA TODAY College article, The Container Store offers great dorm essentials, but like Amazon, you just have to dig a little deeper for the smart and stylish school supplies, with notebooks, clips and more.
Featured item: August to August calendar — $16.95: Perfect for keeping track of classes, activities, assignments and even expenses, the 13-month, spiral-bound planner has pages made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. The eco-friendly planner includes week- and month-at-a-glance calendars, an address book, an expense record log and note pages. If you’re not used to keeping track of your daily things to do, college life will most likely fill up your schedule and force you to use some kind of a planner.
• Urban Outfitters
Featured item: Laptop case — $28-$80: Given that more students are expected to buy laptops this year, according to the NRF, laptop cases are also in high demand. Although most of Urban Outfitters’ cases accommodate 13-inch laptops, the styles vary from the plain to cases in disguise. The store also offers a variety of fashion-forward backpacks and unique iPhone and iPad cases. Browse more of Urban’s college essentials here.
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