Where to get the best deals on back to school supplies

SEATTLE — The National Retail Federation estimates parents of gradeschool students will spend over $27 billion on school supplies this year! We’re all on a budget and we wanted to find out which stores have the cheapest supplies.

We took the third grade supply list from Lowell Elementary in Tacoma to three stores: Fred Meyer, Target and Office Max to see where the cheapest supplies are.

Our lists consists of 32 items:

  • 1 Backpack
  • 2 Spiral notebooks
  • 2 Packages of notebook paper (wide ruled)
  • 2 Reams of copy paper
  • 3 Mead composition notebooks (hardback)
  • 4 Peechee type folders
  • 2 Boxes of #2 pencils, sharpened
  • 2 Pink Erasers
  • 2 Red correcting pens
  • 1 Box of crayons
  • 1 Box of colored markers (fine tip)
  • 1 Box of colored pencils
  • 1 Pair of 8-inch, pointed scissors
  • Glue and 2 non-gel glue sticks
  • 1 Small school box
  • 1 box of Kleenex tissue
  • 1 Ruler (12 inch/centimeter)
  • 1 Container of baby wipes

We took our list to Fred Meyer in Ballard first. Notable steals: an emoji-clad backpack for $14.99, .19 cent notebooks, and .49 cent pencils.

The Fred Meyer total came to $52.48.

Our second stop led us to Office Max in Ballard, who wouldn’t let our cameras inside. Notable deals included: .75 cent composite notebooks, $1.00 glue, and a .50 cent ruler. More expensive items like scissors and the most expensive backpack of the day at $20.29 ran up the price.

Office Max grand total came to $69.02.

Our final stop led us to Target at Northgate Mall. Notable buys included 4 notebooks for $2.20, folders at .15 cents apiece, and $1 glue.

The Target grand total came to $60.81.

The results are in!

Fred Meyer total: $52:48

Target total: $60.81

Office Max total: $69.02

We went to an expert to get a little extra advice. 7th Grade Kellogg teacher Diana Cruz says more importantly than saving a buck, is letting your kids pick the design they want.

“The more engaged they are in the item, whether its Ninja Turtle or princess, the more engaged they’re going to be in learning and wanting to go back to school,” Cruz said with a smile.

Our big take away after conducting this experiment was that it pays to shop around. We couldve saved ourselves even more money by buying certain items at different stores. Another good tip, if you have time, try shopping online where prices tend to be even cheaper than in the store.