7 essential (and affordable) back to school supplies for your teenagers.

“What do you need for school next year?” I asked this question to my 15-year-old daughter who is about to enter year 10.

She casually threw back over her shoulder “Some hope and ambitions?” I laughed and she laughed and then I said to her, “No, really, what will I have to go and buy you because Christmas is a bank balance killer and I really need to draw up a budget here.”

You need to draw up a budget.

Being a veteran of this hectic time of time of year and the ‘back to school madness’, I have to admit I get an overwhelming feeling of just being ‘shopped out’ come January, so that’s why I always try to pick up all of the school supplies in one shop. A single store that not only sells the brands and quality products I can trust, but at the very best price.

Also, with my daughter being older now, I’ve found that her technological needs in the classroom have increased substantially and I do NOT want to traipse all over a megaplex in search of everything. In fact, I’ve learnt in the past that I need to use almost military precision if I’m going to tick off almost everything on my list in one go. And it’s gone beyond the basic scrapbooks and crayons now.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Big W. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

See, because even though all of the fundamentals are taken care of with a ‘school textbook levy’, it seems that the older my children get, the more ‘incidentals’ I have to source on my own. Especially, as my daughter tells me, her classmates continuously borrow things from her and fail to return them.

That’s why I’ve learnt to do a one-stop shop at Big W.

1. Phone charger.

Available at Big W

You see, this really IS a school requirement now days. Every kid has a phone and also pretty much every single one of them is working from their laptop and therefore, they need to charge it up at some point during the day. And yes, I’m well aware we got through school perfectly fine without either but times change, and so too our way of adapting.

2. USB Sticks.

Available at Big W

Forever am I buying these it seems. Used so often for saving assignments and projects, these are one of those ‘lent’ items that for some reason are never returned.

3. General (but cool) stationery.

Available at Big W


This includes pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, pencil cases and pretty much every single stationery item you can think of. Both the big, well-known brands and the new funky designs.

4. Calculators.

Available at Big W

The calculators teenagers use these days look and operate more like mini computers than adding machines. No longer just used for just typing BOOBS upside down, these older teens need to get serious about their maths and importantly, need specific and trusted branded calculators to do so.

5. Printer.

Available at Big W

Assignments need to printed at home and presented impressively almost weekly. Most importantly when sourcing a printer, it needs to be a well-known, trusted brand that you can easily find replacement cartridges for in the future.

6. Device or tablet cover.

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Most children this age will have a laptop or tablet. The thing is, teenagers are notoriously heavy handed or clumsy with expensive technology. They need a super tough cover or case to prevent damage.

7. Socks.

Available at Big W

Look, I don’t profess to know where they all go. All I know is that I buy two week’s worth of pairs at the start of every school year and by the end of the first term, my daughter is lucky to find one. Luckily, these are affordable enough to be able to replace at the same rate she loses them.

This, of course, is not a definitive list of what a 15 or even an 18-year-old will need when they go back to school in the New Year. It is, however, my experience, especially when I need to apportion less of my budget on stationery and more on quality school shoes. It’s important to know that I can gather all of these at Big W. And in this ever-changing world, I need some constants, a place I know I will get what I need at a price I can afford.

What back to school essentials does your teenager require this year?

We’ve all been there. Check out some of these celebs in their high school hay days.

BIG W has Australia’s favourite national brands and the lowest prices on everything for the kids going back to school. View our catalogues online or shop in store for all your back to school needs. Visit for more information or sign up to our newsletter here.