Brooke’s Bargains: School supplies

Brooke’s Bargains: School supplies

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It's back to school time, and parents, get ready for sticker shock.

According to MetroKids, the average family will spend $662 on elementary school supplies, Make that $1,000 for middle schoolers, and almost $1,500 for students in high school. College-bound students will need $1,100 for books and supplies alone.

Where are the best deals? Brooke’s Bargains compared prices for a few standard items at Walmart, Target, Staples and Amazon.

Here are a few of the prices we found:

8 Count Crayons:

  • Walmart: $.87
  • Staples: $1.00
  • Target: $1.99
  • Amazon: $3.71

6 pack glue sticks:

  • Walmart: $2.27
  • Target: $2.49
  • Staples: $4.00
  • Amazon: $5.47

10-pack Ballpoint Pens:

  • Target: $ .99
  • Staples: $1.19
  • Walmart: $1.26
  • Amazon: $2.98

Notice a pattern? The comparison site Wikibuy found that Amazon's school supply prices are, on average, 15% higher than the others. But, you're paying for convenience in this case - and you can make up some of the cost if you order more than one pack of the same item.

We also price-checked one of the bigger-ticket item, and found a similar pattern - A Texas Instruments 84 Plus graphing calculator. Walmart has it for $88, Target for $89, Staples $104, and Amazon $109. Aside from Amazon, most stores also had free shipping.

There is a new option in school shopping this year could save you time and money. Target and Office Depot have rolled out digital school supply lists. In about three minutes, you can type in your school, grade, get your child’s class-specific list, add it to your cart with one click, pay and get it shipped to your door.

When we tried both systems with a participating Tucson school, the total was about the same as in the store.

Unless your child really loves to school shop with you, this is a big time saver.

Perhaps the best school supply savings hack: shop at home first! Check all the spots around the house where supplies seem to accumulate and hang on to reusable items at the end of one school to use for the next. You can even host a supply swap with other families.

The next time you get out your grocery list, grab the kids’ school supply list too because grocery stores have some great weekly specials on supplies.

We found several items at Fry’s for less than Target and Walmart. You can also save some big ticket items for later. Back to school clothes, for instance, will be cheaper in September.

Also, know that dollar stores don’t always offer the best school supply prices - because so many other stores offer specials way below a dollar this time of year.

You can find more on school savings in the Brooke’s Bargains section of our website.

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