Comparing Amazon, Target and Walmart prices on back-to-school items

The winner may surprise you!

Wal-Mart Lowers Earnings Estimate After Weak Second Quarter
Getty Images | Scott Olson

The success of online retailers such as Amazon is proof positive that people like shopping online. But many parents still prefer going to the actual store for their children’s back-to-school supplies.

That way, they have their items right away, and their children can see and hold their new supplies themselves.

Who’s getting the better deal, though? People who frequent Amazon, or those who head to physical stores such as Target and Walmart?

We priced a basket of items for a third-grade classroom, including pencil sharpeners, Crayola colored pencils, Elmer’s school glue, Expo markers and Ticonderoga pencils.

And we can’t forget that oh-so-cute Disney backpack.

Target vs. Walmart vs. Amazon

We crunched the numbers listed on Target, Walmart, and Amazon’s websites on the same afternoon.

In the end:

  • Walmart was our budget-friendly winner at $32.77.
  • Target was just slightly higher at $33.64.
  • Amazon was the highest-priced at $40.85.

A WikiBuy survey in Fortune Magazine found the exact same thing last year. That’s not a surprise to the savviest parents, who check individual store websites, but it might be a shock to those of us who assume a convenient mega-retailer would offer the best prices.

For deals on clothes, rather than just Amazon, budget-minded parents will visit Old Navy for a 50 percent off sale, Crazy 8 for up to 70 percent off markdowns, and 6pm for half price shoes.

All too much effort? Try the website TeacherLists.com, which connects your school’s list to either Amazon, Walmart or Target, where you can get it all at once.

With brick-and-mortar stores practically giving away notebooks and crayons right now, you may want to stick with the old-fashioned way of shopping. That way, you don’t waste your money.

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