Back to school shopping lists haven't changed all that much over the years. But what is dramatically different is how parents can buy supplies.
Most schools not only give you a list of what you'll need, but now, many are offering to sell boxes fully stocked.
All you have to do is pick them up. But how do those prices compare to buying them on your own...whether online or in-store. Here's what we learned in supply shopping 101.
The lists aren't that long, but finding it all in the stores can make you short on patience.
“So now I’m looking at this too… ugh,” said a grandma who started her shopping online, but ended up in the stores.
It was her first time buying supplies for her grandson, so she didn’t realize how easy it was to buy online at stores like Target or Walmart.
They have individual school supply lists online, you put them all in your cart, and with one click, have them all delivered or pick ‘em up at the store.
Some schools, like Erieview Elementary in Avon Lake, will even shop for you. You just have to pick up the box, which in this case came to $36.26.
But are you paying a premium for this service?
First, we made sure the lists from the school were the same as those at the stores - which they were. But when it comes to the price and convenience, that's where the lessons were learned.
A: You'll find the stores sell you the pricier brand names like Crayola and Elmer’s, whereas the school list has the budget buys with names like Good & Clean or SchoolKidz.
B: Even though you may only need one item from the school list, in some online cases, you have to buy a minimum of 2, or a bigger size.
C: We also found the prices in the store were much cheaper than online. At Walmart, plain folders sold for $1.77; in the store, you could find them as cheap as 15 to 50 cents.
But here's the other odd thing we noticed: In the School Supply section at Target, they only had a 34 count of Clorox wipes for $2.54. In the Cleaning Supply section, we found a big off-brand for $2.49. So it pays to scout the store.
But that was also the positive about going inside - you could chose different brands and quantities to suit your needs. Although in Walmart, good luck finding the right price for the right brand...nothing was in the right spot.
But most important, how did the online big box stores compare to the little box bought through the school?
It was nearly half the cost!
For the same supplies here's the breakdown.
School Box: $34.36
Walmart Online: $60.07
Target Online: $63.09
So it doesn't take a genius to figure out where you'll get the best deal.
Now here's the crazy thing. We went back online today and some of Walmart's prices are higher than yesterday.
So this emphasizes our findings.
You'll find your best deals in stores; heck, the dollar stores will have a lot of what you need.
Here are some more savings tips: