Consumer News

Back to school shopping? Check our cost comparisons

Monday, August 19, 2013

It's time to hit the stores for back-to-school shopping. You have to load up on the school supplies, but you have to know where to go if you want to save.

And since many people will be school supply shopping this tax free weekend, we had to find out not only who had the best bargain but how big was the difference in price.

As a couponer, Portia Coleman knows to really score bargains on back to school supplies.

"You have to get them at the right time, you have to pay attention to your papers," Coleman said.

But if you don't have time to make multiple stops, no problem. We went on a mission for you to find the best prices. We shopped at a discount store, a drug store and an office supply store and shopped the same list at all three stores.

Our first stop was at Walmart, where they are known for their everyday low prices.

Even before we had our results, shoppers knew where we would get the most bang for our buck. And right away, we noticed really low prices. Spiral notebooks for 17 cents and a box of 20 pencils for 97 cents.

So one of the items are on our back to school are crayons, and depending on where you go to school, many schools will specifically ask for the brand name. There the Crayola crayons are 50 cents, and while this brand is a little cheaper, we are going to bypass this one and go for the name brand.

"I am a teacher, like I said, so we kind of know what works better in the classroom and what lasts throughout the year," shopper Sotgabi Soliz said.

A four-pack of Expo brand dry erase makers were on our list. The price is $2.50 at Walmart. The drug store price has them $3.99 and at the office supply store, they are $6.49, more than double Walmart's price. Elmer's school glue is 97 cents at Walmart, and $1.49 and both at Office Depot and Walgreens.

Next up on our list: pocket folders with brads. Walgreens had the best price at "six for a dollar." Walmart came in second place with $1.49 each and Office Depot's price was $1.99 each.

So after price comparing, what were the results? Walmart's price totaled $40.45, the drug store price was $52.13 and the office supply store was $64.33. That price is $23 more than the discount store.

So we did find some great bargains at the office supply store. They had a one-cent pencil bag that was on our list. But even that price didn't make up for some other prices.

It's important to note that many of those penny deals offer a minimum purchase, so if you really want those deals, it pays you to find good prices on those other purchases.

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