How to cut the budget and save the corners

When you’re making an investment in your future, particularly one as huge as university, saving a few bucks here and there can really add up. But where should you save on those investments?

Heading to the dollar store for your school supplies can be a great way to keep your bank account happy. However, if you’re a stationery snob like myself, the thought of a pen bleeding through your paper or a ripped sticky-note seems like a horror story.

What’s fine to buy for cheap? Here are some tips to navigating when to put those cheap items in your cart and when to splurge on something better.

Highlighters – Don’t Buy

As we were taught in high school, we always want to highlight the important parts of our notes and readings. Don’t run the risk of smudging and blurring that important information, especially in a cramming grind.

Spend high for these lighters. The dollar store often has only your standard colours, too (like yellow, pink and orange), so going to the name-brand is worth it for all your diverse colour-coding needs.

Pens – Write On 

The chain dollar stores offer dozens of choices for pens, including really reputable brands at low prices. I’ve also gotten some great, off-brand felt tip pens that I write my exams with, as well as a pack of a dozen black gel pens I use for class notes.

Though they may not last as long as what you might get at the big-box store, the quantity you get for the price can’t be beat, especially when they write just as well!

Sticky Notes – Skip them!

Cheap notes can rip and get rid of any sticking power they may hold, on top of getting rid of half of your writing area. It’s well worth it to spend the extra few dollars on the name brand to make your notes colourful (and save you frustration).

Notebooks – Noteworthy

There seems to be an almost unlimited selection of notebooks at the dollar store. I’m super picky about notebooks, but I still have several that I use for class because I can throw them around and scribble things out without it feeling like a waste.

Experimentation is key to finding a notebook that your pen that doesn’t bleed through, but it is worth it for those times you just have to get the information in writing.

Correction Fluid – No correction needed

This is another product that the dollar store sells in name-brand, but even the no-name bottles work pretty well, from my experience. One of the bottles I bought even had a paper texture that made writing over my mistakes a breeze.

This is something that you shouldn’t worry about buying for a couple of loonies. Whether in fluid or tape, covering up your pen mistakes has never been so cheap.

Colouring Materials – Be mindful  

With the popularity of colouring books, especially to relieve stress, don’t skimp on the opportunity to unwind. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality pencil crayons or colourful felt-tip pens for the intricate designs.

I have some markers I love from the dollar store to add pop to my notes, but for daily use, quality is better in your pencil case.

These tips may not make you rich, but trust that you’ll be thankful half way through the semester when the next installment of OSAP seems eons away.

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