Back-to-School Supplies For Less

by Christine - From Dates to Diapers on August 20, 2010

School officially begins for us just after Labor Day, but you may have noticed that I’ve been doing some back-to-school shopping this week. My main goal has been purchasing supplies, so Walmart sent me on a little assignment…

The Assignment

My mission was to make a list of school supplies, purchase the same list of supplies at Walmart and a second store of my choice, and see who has the better prices overall.

Our List

I modified the itemized Grades 1st-3rd and 4th & 5th Back to School Supply Lists, available at Walmart, to fit our homeschool needs, taking into consideration the fact that I have four kiddos in these grades, as well as two preschool age, and teacher needs supplies, too.

This was our list for each store::

  • Ball Point Pens
  • #2 Pencils
  • 8-Pack Sharpies
  • Erasers
  • 2 Handheld Pencil Sharpener
  • 5 Spiral Notebooks
  • 2 Composition Books
  • Filler Paper
  • 5 Pocket Folders
  • 3 3-Ring Binders
  • 3 Pkgs Dividers
  • Index Cards
  • 2 12″ Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Glue Sticks
  • 4 24-Pack Crayola Crayons
  • 2 10-Count Crayola Markers
  • Highlighters
  • 2 Bottles of Elmers Glue
  • Pushpins
  • Clip Board
  • Compass/Protractor Set

The Competition

In addition to Walmart, I chose to shop at Staples. Not only do they boast “Low prices. Every item. Every day.” but I am also a member of the Teacher Rewards program and earn 10% cash back on most items on my list.

Our Results

We purchased a total of 49 items at each store. Of course, I purchased some store/generic brand items at each, but I am very particular about certain items and will always purchase my favorite brands regardless of price.

School Supplies From Walmart School Supplies From Staples

Here’s the breakdown::

Walmart total — $71.67
Staples total — $160.17

The difference — $88.50

Even with my 10% cash back reward from Staples, I saved $72.50 at Walmart!! WOW! I was already pretty sure that Walmart would beat other places, but I was shocked to discover that it was possible to spend over twice as much at Staples!

Where do you shop for school supplies?

As you probably already know, I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has compensated me to perform the above shopping comparison. Participation in this program is voluntary. All opinions are my own… always have been, always will be.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Sheila Hickmon August 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

Wow! That’s insane. I normally always go to Walmart to get school supplies, I guess I just didn’t realize how much cheaper they really are compared to others!


Karinkath August 21, 2010 at 1:57 pm

Wow that is a big savings. Curious why you didn’t try Target or Kmart since usually the office stores are a lot more expensive!


Joyce August 21, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Wow! What a difference! That’s great!
Joyce´s last blog post ..Our Week in Photos Week 34 of 52


Elizabeth @ Table for Five August 24, 2010 at 11:50 am

Holy COW! I’m shocked at how high your Staples bill was! I’m wondering if anyone did a comparison with Target, have you seen one?


Lisa August 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

I always found Staples to be really overpriced. My neighbors swear the sales are great. Now I can show them this post as proof!


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