Just for your reference, here are some of the best prices on school supplies from previous years. There’s no guarantee that retailers will repeat these deals, but sometimes it’s nice to have a reference.
School supplies comparison price list
The table below shows some average prices during the school supply shopping season and what you might want to consider as your “goal” price. The important thing to understand about using this table is that you aren’t going to get the goal prices by shopping all at one place, or even all in the same week.
If there are blank fields, it’s because the prices range too widely or because I don’t know.
|Item||Avg Sale Price||Goal Price|
|2. Paper folder||.15||.05|
|3. Poly folder||.50||.15|
|4. Filler paper||.89||.50|
|5. Spiral notebook||.25||.10|
|6. Composition books||.50||.25|
|7. Index cards||.50||.25|
|8. Glue sticks||.99||.49|
|9. School glue||.50||.25|
|10. Crayola crayons||.50||.33|
|11. Crayola colored pencils||.99||.49|
|12. Crayola markers||.99||.99|
|13. Expo markers||$3.79||$1.99|
|16. Copy/print paper||$3|
|17. Kids scissors||.99||.49|
|18. Pencil box||$1||.89|
|19. Pencil pouch||$1|
|20. Gallon storage bags||$5||$3.50|
|21. Quart storage bags||$5||$3.50|
|22. Paper towels||.99|
|24. Backpacks||$3 to $10|
|25. Athletic shoes||$10 to $25|
|26. Scientific calculator||$8.99|
|27. Graphing calculator||$49|
*A note about athletic shoes: many schools ask that your student brings a pair of gym shoes to school to keep there. That’s what this item is referring to. For gym, shoes should be well-fitting, flexible, and sturdy, but they probably don’t have to be anything special since kids are only wearing them for an hour a day. (Obviously, specialty shoes for various sports are going to cost more, and that’s probably also the case for shoes your child wears all day, every day.)
Cheapest school supplies by unit price
I don’t break everything down by unit price, but different package sizes can sometimes make comparison shopping really challenging (for the math-challenged). So before I head out, I have certain unit prices memorized or written down on my list.
Ticonderoga pencils – less than 10 cents per pencil is good. That’s about half the price of this brand during school supply sale season.
Expo markers – try to get these for less than $1 per marker if you can. Package sizes and types vary so widely on these. There’s usually a “starter kit” on sale every year that includes eraser and cleaning fluid along with 4 or 5 pens. It almost always seems to be priced at $6.88.
Sharpies – here again you want to try to get under $1 a piece for black Sharpies. If you need multiple colors, there are an enormous range of packages sizes and prices to wade through. Try to resist unless you just feel like blowing a little fun money on them. (Am I the only one who always wants to grab the biggest, most colorful Sharpie pack at the office supply store?)
Copy paper – a ream should be about $3, but beware of those “reams” that have fewer than 500 sheets. Quality varies widely but I’m assuming you’re buying copy paper for school kids who don’t need the brightest luxury-weight paper.
Tissues – go for less than $1 per box of 80+ You might be able to get better than that by using a coupon with a rebate app.
Paper towels – same thing: less than $1 per roll is good target price. I don’t mean Target, the store, ha ha. But target, as in something to shoot for.
Disinfecting wipes – go for about 3.5 cents per wipe if you can. I’m basing this on the price at Sam’s Club right now for a 5-pack of Clorox wipes. (Generic might even be cheaper.)
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