Where to get the best prices on school supplies

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School supply lists typically include many of the same types of items — pencils, crayons and glue sticks, for example — but the prices for those items can vary wildly from store to store. While it’s hard to imagine a box of crayons being that much more expensive at one retailer than another, the truth is that the same 24-count package can cost almost five times as much, depending on where you buy it.

It’s much easier to simply have one destination for all your school supply shopping. But, if you’re committed to get the absolute best price on every item on your child’s list, some retailers have better deals on certain items. That’s why we did the research for you and compared prices on some of the most common school supplies.

Consider the online prices at five popular school supply retailers, and decide where you’d like to spend your back-to-school budget.

MORE: The Best School Backpacks

Ticonderoga No. 2 Pencils, Unsharpened (24 count)

Amazon

Ticonderoga is generally accepted as the gold standard in No. 2 pencils, and the brand tends to get discounted during the back-to-school shopping weeks at retailers like Walmart, Target and Amazon. Here’s how these pencils stack up, price-wise, right now:

Amazon: $3.97

Office Depot: $4.99

Staples: $6.29 (was $9.99)

Target: $3.99 (was $5.79)

Walmart: $3.97 (was $4.97)

For the best deal, buy Ticonderoga No. 2 Pencils, Unsharpened (24 count) at Amazon for $3.97.

Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Washable School Glue Sticks, 6 grams (2 count)

Walmart

Glue sticks are basic staples of elementary school supply lists, and stores like Walmart and Target discount them steeply in the weeks before school starts. As you can see from the price comparison below, those retailers are your best bet right now.

Amazon: $2.70 for a 3-pack

Office Depot: $1.99 (was $4.39) for a 4-pack

Staples: $1.29 (was $2.69) for a 2-pack

Target: $0.50 (was $1.39) for a 2-pack

Walmart: $0.50 (was $1.37) for a 2-pack

For the best deal, buy Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Washable School Glue Sticks, 6 gram, 2 Count at Walmart for $0.50 (was $1.37) or at Target for the same price.

Crayola Crayons (24-count)

Walmart

Everyone’s buying crayons right now, and happily most retailers are slashing the price for them. Just steer clear of Amazon for your coloring needs; their price is much higher by far than the rest.

Amazon: $7.48

Office Depot: $0.50 (was $2.79)

Staples: $0.50 (was $2.09)

Target: $0.50 (was $1.49)

Walmart: $0.50 (was $1.44)

For the best deal, buy Crayola Crayons (24 count) at Walmart for $0.50 or for the same price at Target, Office Depot and Staples.

3-Ring Binder, 1-Inch

Walmart

Office supply stores like Office Depot and Staples usually charge in the $7-$8 range for binders, but they tend to bring the price down during back-to-school shopping times. While the prices are mostly in the same ballpark, the best deal right now is at Office Depot.

Amazon: $6.29

Office Depot: $1.99 (was $7.29)

Staples: $3.29 (was $7.89)

Target: $2.19

Walmart: $2.19 ($5.89)

For the best deal, buy a 3-ring binder, 1-inch at Office Depot for $1.99 (was $7.29).

Two-Pocket Paper Folder

Walmart

The older your student is, the more folders their teacher will request. (Generally, they need one for every subject.) So you probably want to buy these at a store that’s practically giving them away, like Target or Walmart.

Amazon: $5.99 for a pack of 3

Office Depot: $0.25 (was $1.29)

Staples: $0.50

Target: $0.15

Walmart: $0.15

For the best deal, buy a two-pocket paper folder at Walmart for $0.15 or at Target for the same price.

Fiskars 5-inch Pointed-Tip Scissors

Staples

Supply lists for primary school (grades K-2) usually include a pair of 5-inch scissors, and the price is pretty even across most retailers right now.

Amazon: $5.80

Office Depot: $1.99 (was $3.99)

Staples: $0.99 (was $3.09)

Target: $1.59 (was $$1.89)

Walmart: $1.58 (was $1.99)

For the best deal, buy Fiskars 5-inch Pointed-Tip Scissors at Staples for $0.99.

12-inch Wooden Ruler

Walmart

Rulers aren’t expensive, but the price does fluctuate depending on where you buy one. Target and Walmart are generally good bets right now, though Staples has the lowest price.

Amazon: $1.07

Office Depot: $2.69

Staples: $0.50 (was $5.09)

Target: $0.55

Walmart: $0.54

For the best deal, buy a 12-inch wooden ruler at Staples for $0.50.

About the Author
Jennifer Graham Kizer

Jennifer has written features and essays for over a dozen magazines, including American Baby, Cosmo, Cosmo Girl, Fit Pregnancy, Good Housekeeping, Health, Marie Claire, Parents, Parenting, Redbook, Self, Teen People, TV Guide, and YM. More.


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