9 must-have products for the new school year

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Splurge Vs. Steal: Back to School Edition

School is nearly in session, which means back-to-school shopping season is in full swing. Good news for shoppers: We've discovered that this year, there's a way to score a high grade in both style and savings.

You won't want to step foot in the school hallway without our collection of useful and affordable must-have products for the new school year.

1. Digital Storage

Carrying hard copies of papers and projects is so last year. Purchase a digital storage device – such as a USB flash drive – so you'll always have all your work with you wherever you go. You know, just in case your dog eats your homework.

Try this: Who said you can't combine "minions" and learning? Office Depot has 8 gigabyte "Despicable Me 2" USB flash drives. A pack of three minions (Dave, Devin and Stuart) is on sale for $26.99 (regularly $29.99). Although more expensive, college students may benefit from a portable external hard drive, like the Western Digital My Passport, available for $59.99 (regularly $79.99) at Office Depot.

2. Fashionable Writing Utensils

No matter your age or grade, every student needs writing utensils. Stock up on everything from pens and pencils to highlighters, markers and Sharpies. While you're at it, remember to purchase a pencil pouch or box to carry all your supplies.

Try this: At Staples, a 28-pack of hip and colorful Zebra Cadoozles mechanical pencils is on sale for $6 (regularly $11.79). This discount offer expires Sept. 19.

3. Funky Erasers

Just in case you make a mistake or two on schoolwork, stock up on some funky erasers that can make wiping away your errors fun and easy.

Try this: At Office Depot, a pack of assorted cupcake erasers costs $1.29. The product comes in a handful of shapes such as snacks, animals and puzzles.

4. Headphones

Music isn't always a required class for school, but it sure is a cool extracurricular activity. Whether you enjoy listening to your favorite tunes while you study or like to rock out to energetic music on your morning walk to class, purchase a new pair of headphones to keep your juices flowing.

Try this: At Best Buy, the Skullcandy Uprock headphones in white are $29.99. These headphones feature dual-layer ear cushions, 40 mm drivers and an in-line remote with microphone for hands-free calls.

5. Desk Organizer

School supplies aren't necessary only at school. When it's time to complete assignments at home, get yourself set up with the ideal study zone. Organizers can help keep your desk space or drawers orderly and collect all of your essential supplies in one easy-to-find place.

Try this: For an affordable option with plenty of compartments, Kmart has the Rolodex wire mesh three-tier swivel tower available for $9.99.

6. Lock and Key

Once you've purchased all your necessary supplies, you'll want to keep them safe. Don't neglect to protect your belongings with the proper safeguards. If you'll be using a book locker or gym locker, for example, bring a lock to school with you. If you'll be riding your bike to school, get a fastener to keep it secure during the school day.

Try this: At Office Depot, the Master Lock rollerball combination padlock (available in assorted colors) costs $10.99. These colorful locks can be opened one-handed based on directional movements, and the combination can be reset.

7. Locker Bling

Now that you have the essentials out the way, consider equipping your locker since you probably spend a lot of time there. From shelves to wallpaper, there are lots of ways to combine decoration and functionality as you personalize your storage place.

Try this: Target sells a gold and white LED locker chandelier for $14.99. Or, for something a little more retro, consider the store's groovy locker disco ball available for the same price.

8. Inspiring Wall Art

With your locker dressed up, it's time to spruce up your study space. Whether you crack the books in your college dorm or your bedroom at home, a little inspirational wall art can bolster those late-night cram sessions. Pick a poster that features a favorite quote, movie or character that you can reflect on while you work.

Try this: At Wal-Mart, a six-pack collection of motivational prints costs $13.869. These hip wall signs include school-oriented phrases such as "No Slacking Any Time" and "Pass With Hard Work."

9. Study Apps

Finally, before you arrive at your desk in the classroom, ensure that your smartphone is loaded with the best studying apps. Need a dictionary or a thesaurus? There's an app for that. Want to keep track of all of your grades throughout the semester? There's an app for that, too.

Try this: iPhone users should consider iStudiez Pro, a smartphone app that can organize your schedule, track your GPA and send you push notification reminders. This helpful academic app can be purchased for $2.99.

See some of the best travel destinations for your fall long weekends:

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9 must-have products for the new school year

The Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts

(AP Photo/Nancy Palmieri)

New York City

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Dominican Republic

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Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina

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Dublin, Ireland

(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)


(Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Nova Scotia, Canada

(Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

San Francisco, California

(Photo: Shutterstock)

Barcelona, Spain

(Photo: Getty Images)

Venice, Italy

(Photo credit: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mammouth Cave National Park, Kentucky

(AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

(Photo: Getty Images)


More from U.S. News:
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The Best Back-to-School Sales of 2015

For more back-to-school content, click here, and check out our #BTSselfiesweeps for the chance to win the ultimate back-to-school prize pack!

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