(StatePoint) Getting the supplies kids need for school, particularly ones they think are cool, can seriously strain your budget. And once they get those supplies into the classroom, it's easy for kids to misplace them or bring home the wrong ones since so many notebooks and folders look alike.
That's why personalized school supplies that can be purchased for less than $10 are gaining popularity with both parents and children. Each item is unique, appealing to kids' burgeoning sense of independence and reflecting each child's sense of style.
"This season, customized stationery products created with digital photos are extremely popular and can be easily made for under $10," says Rick Bellamy, CEO of RPI, which handles the manufacturing and fulfillment for consumer print-on-demand products for many leading photo sharing Web sites and retail stores.
There are many options available for these unique and affordable supplies:
* Personalize Notebooks: Create one-of-a-kind notebooks and notepads for students by putting a favorite photo on the cover. It can be a picture of anything -- a family vacation snapshot or a photo of a favorite pet. And who knows? Your kids just might be more inspired to look inside the books if they like the covers.
You can create personalized notebooks at online sites such as Snapfish by HP (snapfish.com) or at stores like Walgreens.com, which offer notebooks and notepads for $5.99 to $9.99 that can be filled with lined, blank or day planner pages.
* Customize Calendars: If your kids aren't day planner types, get them customized academic calendars with photos of friends or favorite sports and activities. As an added bonus, you can pre-mark dates for birthdays and other significant events to make sure they don't forget. Customized academic and wall calendars are available at Costco (costcophotocenter.com) for $9.99.
* Stick It: Kids who are having trouble transitioning to school might enjoy sticking photos of themselves or their friends on their belongings. This is an appealing alternative to writing your child's name in permanent marker on everything from lunch containers to backpacks. Photo stickers are available in sheets of 20 at such stores as Walmart Photo Center or Walgreens.com for only $2.99.
* Customized Locker Decor: Encourage self-expression by making a photo poster for your child's room or locker, available at Walmart Photo Center starting at $7.00. For college-bound teens, large posters make great dorm room decor and give them a taste of home while they're away at school.
Of course, customized photo products aren't limited to kid-oriented items. You might want to consider turning those first-day-of-school photos into a photo book for grandparents who miss their summer babysitting duties. School can be hard on them, too!
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