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List of the Cheapest Back to School Supplies from Top Stores

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Stephanie MialkiGuest Blogger
July 19, 2016 · 1.4k Views

Can you believe it’s already the middle of the summer?! That means it’s almost time to start thinking about back-to-school supplies shopping for next year already! Between buying new school clothes and making sure everybody has everything from their school supplies list, this can be an extremely expensive and stressful time of the year for parents. Luckily, I did some research, and based on previous years and on the sales that have already been spotted on school supplies this year, I’m providing you with some useful information on where to shop and where not to shop for back-to-school supplies this year. Happy shopping!


Source: Target

As far as I can tell, Target seems to be the number one place to shop for school supplies, in terms of overall savings. Although there are other stores that sell some items cheaper than Target does, if you’re looking to do all of your shopping in one place, I would say that Target is definitely the place to do it. Based on a comparison done by a parent last year, Target had the lowest prices for many of the school supplies items. Here are some of the products that Target sold cheaper than most other stores, based on that 2015 comparison:

  • Bic blue and black pens (10 ct.)

  • Black Sharpie, fine point (2 pack)

  • Elmer’s glue sticks (6 pack)

  • Ticonderoga #2 pencils (24 ct.)

  • Expo black fine tip dry erase markers (4 pack)

  • Expo colored dry erase markers (4 pack)

On average, you can expect to spend around $50 on school supplies at Target, which is a little bit cheaper than Walmart, and at least $15 cheaper than Amazon. The savings are even more impressive when you compare them to actual office supplies stores like Office Depot or Staples. You can expect to save anywhere from $40-80 by shopping at Target over these stores!



Source: Walmart

Walmart is in a close second place in the race for best places to shop for school supplies this year, as you can expect to spend around $55 on school supplies here. In fact, in the 2015 comparison mentioned above, Walmart also had some of the cheapest products compared to other stores. These included:

  • Store brand #2 pencils (24 ct.)

  • Plain laminated pocket folders

  • Store brand pink erasers

  • Post-it notes (3 pack)

  • Scotch tape

  • Sharpie highlighters (2 pack)

While Walmart sold quite a few items at a lower price than Target, the overall savings just wasn’t as high. In addition there were/are many items that are the same price at both Target and Walmart, including:

  • Crayola markers (10 ct.)

  • Crayola colored pencils (12 ct.)

  • Crayola crayons (24 ct.)

  • Composition notebooks (100 sheets)

  • Elmer’s glue (4 oz.)

  • Pocket portfolio folders

  • Wide-ruled spiral-bound notebooks


Staples, Office Depot & Office Max, etc.

Source: Office Depot

Although these office supplies stores typically have all the best brands of school supplies, what they don’t have is the best prices. Last year, the average cost for a year’s worth of school supplies at Staples and Office Depot was around $130, which is AT LEAST $30 more than the average cost of school supplies elsewhere (and even up to $80 more than stores like Target). So if brand and quality is what is most important to you, you’ll definitely want to shop at stores like Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, and the like, but if saving money is what you’re looking to do, then I recommend sticking to stores like Target and Walmart.



Source: Amazon

While Amazon does have some awesome deals normally, and sometimes even on school supplies, the problem is that with school supplies, you often have to buy in bulk. This is great if you’re a teacher, or you have a ton of kids, or you plan on sharing the supplies and cost with other parents, but not so much if you only have one kid to shop for. The average cost for a year’s worth of school supplies on Amazon comes out to be about $75, which is significantly less than the office supplies stores, but still more than Target and Walmart. If the thought of going to the store to get everything off your kid’s school supplies list sounds like torture to you, though, Amazon is definitely the way to go. Simply find everything you need online and get it shipped right to your front door. If you end up having to order in bulk and don’t have anyone to share with, you could always put the extra away for next year!


Dollar Tree, Dollar General or Other Dollar Stores

Source: Dollar Tree

As mentioned in our back to school guide for high school and college students, some top places to hit up if you need to refresh your supplies for the upcoming school year is your local dollar stores. From famed Japanese dollar store Daiso to the popular Dollar Tree chain, you can drop by for dollar deals on binders, dividers, stationary, highlighters and also pick up some simple organization and storage items along the way. Our only recommendation is to decide what deals are better bought in bulk, such as, post-its and college ruled notebook bundles which is typically sold in bulk for less at your local Target and Walmart. 

School is coming... are you ready?


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Stephanie Mialki is a mommy of two under two, a fitness enthusiast, and a digital marketing guru. She spends all of her spare time….oh wait, what spare time? She has a passion for business building and has successfully assisted more than 20 entrepreneurs start their own companies.

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