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School supplies: Buy your own or buy a ready-made box?

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SEATTLE — Stores all around the Puget Sound have their back to school displays out for shoppers.  The National Retail Federation says the average family will spend more than $600 on clothes, electronics, and school supplies for back-to-school.

To help parents, some schools offer pre-packed boxes of supplies; schools that participate will often provide parents with a link where they can buy a box that’s packed and ready on the first day of school.  These boxes normally sell for between $40 – $60 and contain all the supplies students need.

Q13 FOX’s sister station in Memphis, WREG, did some comparison shopping to see if these boxes are more cost-effective for parents.  They found that it’s usually about $5-$10 cheaper for parents to buy the supplies individually than it is to buy them pre-packed.  You can see their story above.

Many school districts who offer the boxes use them as a fundraiser, so it’s not necessarily driven by profit.  The districts often set the price for the boxes.

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