Back-To-School Cheat Sheet: Where To Get The Best Deals On School Supplies

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For many families, getting ready to go back to school is not only a time-consuming process—it’s an expensive one.

The National Retail Federation’s 2015 Back-to-School Spending Survey found that families were planning to spend an average of $630.36 on clothing, electronics and school supplies for students grades K-12, with an average $103.92 spent solely on supplies like notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes.

Thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher, families looking to cut down their back-to-school costs now have a handy guide for where to get the best deals on school supplies. Overall? WalMart seems to be leading with the lowest prices. Take an 8-count box of Crayola crayons, for example. At WalMart, you’ll pay 87 cents compared to $3.49 at Target, $1.00 at Staples and $3.29 at Office Depot/Max.

WalMart’s pricing does lose out to the other retailers on some items. Mechanical pencils, for example. You can get a 12-count pack at Staples for 75 cents versus $1.46 at WalMart or $1.17 at Target for a 10-count box.


You can print out this chart to take along with you on your school supply shopping trip at They feature other great money-saving tips and deals on back-to-school supplies.

If you’re wondering how Amazon stacks up, I did a little digging and that 8-count box of Crayola crayons is currently $2.60, and the cheapest pack of 10-count mechanical pencils I could find currently cost $2.94—so in both cases, the offline retailers still win.

That said, Amazon does have some great deals on specific back-to-school items. They are selling a 3-pack of Scotch tape for $3.00 as an add-on item. That price is currently $.50 cheaper than WalMart.  You can also pick up a box of 144 No. 2 pencils for $9.98.

Some readers also suggested checking out dollar stores, as you can get a lot of these items at discount stores for an even cheaper price. Additionally, this list does not factor coupons into the price, and that could change where you’ll get the best deals.   Another great suggestion is to take advantage of the Staples price matching policy.  You can save an additional 10% after their discount.

PassionatePennyPincher does point out, too, that Target, Staples and Office Depot/Office Max have lower prices on their store brands that are not all included on this list. As with anything buying “name brand” is usually at a higher premium.

How do you cut back-to-school costs for your family? Tell us on Facebook and happy shopping!