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School Supplies Shopping – Who Has the Best Prices?

Posted by Lisa LaGrou August 18, 2012 Education

altEither you’re stuck in summer mode and dreading the school supplies shopping, or you are eagerly looking forward to the Tuesday after Labor Day and the school supply shopping is your favorite summertime milestone. Either way, back to school season is here and so is the annual Oakland County Moms School Supplies Shopping Guide! I canvassed some local stores to find the best deals in Metro Detroit on school supplies. I visited Target, Meijer, Walmart, Kmart and Office Max.

Below is a chart that shows what I found and which store is offering the best deals on school supplies.

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I want to make note of a few things in reference to the chart… the items selected are some of the most commonly requested items to be purchased. This is not a complete list (as we all so painfully know) and doesn’t include some of the newer items like dry erase markers, etc. This school supply list includes some of the basics and is set up to be a gauge to see where the different stores fall in comparison to one another.

In a nutshell, the trend from the past few years continues and is even more apparent this year. Target, Meijer and Walmart do their homework! I highly doubt it’s all by chance that their prices are so similar, even more so than last year. Some of the differences I saw were that Meijer likes to clearly announce that the prices are sale prices. Maybe this gives consumers the feeling that they are getting the best deal. Walmart had the same prices, but there wasn’t any noticeable signage showing the savings. So, interesting tactic, Meijer. I wonder if it has proven to work for them.

Click here to see last year’s Oakland County Moms Back to School Supplies Shopping Guide.

When it comes to the actual products I compared, I tried to keep everything the exact same as far as brand, size, and style is concerned. I allowed Target to stray from this for the 100 sheet college ruled notebook because their store brand product (up & up) was so comparable to the Five Star brand I was researching. For the 3-ring binders, I gave the pricing for the least expensive items I found in each store and the brands all differed. I found pricing for the “view” style which has the clear plastic cover, and the non-view style. Finally, if there was an instance where something was not a direct comparison, I made a note of it… this happened at Office Max.

So overall, prices were pretty competitive and it may not be worthwhile to drive the distance looking for savings. It’s a safe bet to just go to the closest store, so long as it’s not Kmart or Office Max. Shame on you, Kmart. Don’t position yourself as the place for lower prices if you can’t come through.

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