How to Save on Back to School
Deloitte estimates parents will spend $510 on back to school expenses in 2018, up $9 from 2017. The breakdown of back to school expenses is 55% or $286 on average on clothing and accessories, 22% on school supplies ($112 on average), 13% on computers and hardware ($299 on average) and 8% on electronic gadgets ($271 on average).
7 Tips to save on Back to School Supplies
Shop with your supply list and stick to the list. Derailing from the list can add up unnecessary expenses.
Use technology to research prices before you shop and even order online. The free uGrocery app allows you to compare prices of the the most popular school supplies so you always know you are getting the best price.
Shop store brands – binders have the greatest delta between the branded merchandise and white label offerings. For example, 1” Avery heavy duty binders are $4.99 each, compared to the Target Up & Up brand of a similar binder for just $1.89. That’s a $3.10 difference, or 62% premium for the Avery binder.
Start early for best selection and shop off-peak hours for the easiest experience. If you shop peak hours between 4 pm – 7 pm, you will run into hurried parents and kids trying to corss items off their lists.
The Sunday newspaper inserts have coupons for BIC, Pentel, PaperMate, Five Star as well as lunch box accessories from Rubbermaid, and the ever necessary wipes, tissues, and cereal, yogurt, snacks and other necessities as the school year starts.
Target allows price matching of exact items at customer service. Staples offers a price match guarantee plus 10%. The challenge with price matching is that you have to have the advertised prices with you and most of the hot deals on school supplies are not advertised, so while it’s out there – you will have to do quite a bit of leg work to take advantage of price matching for everything on your list.
Shop around for the best deals – cherry pick the deals for the most savings. If you don’t have time, we’ve compared 28 of the most popular items on back to school lists and can tell you if you shop at King Soopers, Walmart or Target, you will get the best value for your dollar. Sales will vary every week at Target, Office Max and Staples where you will see $.01 and $.05 deals as we get closer to the start of school, but those will come with minimum purchase requirements that must be met.
Pick up extra pens, wipes, markers, tissues because those inevitably run out and you’ll get a teachers note to send more in during the middle of the year
If you plan to shop online – the best sites include Target, King Soopers Click List and Office max. They have the easiest user experience, best deals, easy checkout. Target Red Card holders can save an extra 5% and you can also save on school supplies at King Soopers with exclusive Click List coupons on expo markers and paper mate pens and pencils.
2018 School Supply Prices
See below for a price comparison of 28 popular items across King Soopers, Safeway, Walmart, Target, Staples and Office Max.
See how the prices compare to 2017 in our 2017 school supply comparison here.