How much does this list of school supplies cost?


SAN ANTONIO – As Piper Romero will tell you, you need a rainbow of supplies for third grade – watercolors, pencils, and a variety of folders.

“And, colored markers,” she said.

But with inflation hitting families hard, we wanted to know where you can spend the least amount of green energy.

We did some homework, taking the NEISD classroom supply list for third graders to four popular stores to compare prices. We looked for name brands like Crayola where available. Otherwise, we shopped around for the best deal available on the shelf. Because some things, like pencils or paper, weren’t always available in the exact quantity specified, we sometimes had to buy more than we needed.

We shopped Target, Walmart, HEB and Office Depot in the same North Side area on the same day. We also didn’t include Kleenex tissues in the list.

Walmart and HEB had the lowest price on the most items. Office Depot was the most expensive on almost everything. And, every store had the 24-pack of Crayola crayons on sale for 50 cents. However, the day we shopped, the Crayola pencil tray at the Target location was empty.

To save money, take some of our notes.

Buy store brands. For example, the sale price of HE-B for six sticks of Elmer’s glue was $1.62. But we could get their store brand for 75 cents for all six. Walmart offered the same prices, but there were no store-brand glue sticks available when and where we shopped. We couldn’t find a rule either.

Then check the prices online. At Office Depot, five-inch pointed Westcott scissors are $3.99. Online, however, we found a deal offering two pairs for $1.99.

Finally, sharpen your own pencils. At Target, two boxes of sharpened brand pencils are $4.38. But, unsharpened, they cost $1.98, less than half the price.

Our final savings report?

Our supply basket at Office Depot was $39.28

Walmart, HEB and Target accounted for about half of that and were fairly close together.

Walmart’s cart was the cheapest at $17.42. HE-B was only 72 cents higher at $18.14. Target’s basket was $19.47.

HEB gets extra credit though for having everything in stock and easy to find when and where we shopped.

Families can stretch their dollars by shopping Friday through Sunday, the state’s back-to-school tax holiday. Texans pay no sales tax on most clothes, shoes, backpacks, and those school supply lists.

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