With $100 in your pocket, what can you buy to take your kids back to school? Even without a tax-free holiday, sales and deals abound in the area. Patch compared side-by-side the costs of the same items from both Staples and Target with $100 to spend at each.
The most expensive purchase to be made for back to school is a backpack. Whether your student has outgrown it or one two many juice boxes were spilled in the last one, choosing a backpacks depends on the student's age, size and brand. They can range from as cheap as $14 for a kindergartener's backpack at Target to $70 at Staples for a high schooler.
The median backpack price this week at Target was $34.50, while the median at Staples was more than 10 dollars higher at $45. With about a third or close to a half of the Patch’s budget spent, it was important to find the deals for the various other supplies every child should be equipped with going back to school.
When we asked Milford Patch Facebook fans where they find the deals on school supplies, for backpacks, many readers suggested LL Bean, which has a lifetime guarantee on wear and tear. The online retailer has backpacks that endure, readers said. "The initial investment is higher but in the long run, I'm not having to buy 2 new backpacks every year," said one Milford father.
Another reader suggested Newbury Comics, which has a store nearby in Bellingham, for cool designs for backpacks.
When it comes to a basic supply for student — filler paper — stores compete for customers.
If a teacher requires binders with lots of filler paper, Staples by far has the best deal. For five packs of 120-count paper, it’s only 5 cents. For every pack after that, it rises up to 85 cents.
At Target, however, one pack of the equivalent filler paper runs $3.49. To get the same amount as Staples, buying five packs of the filler paper at Target costs a whopping $17.45. The amount of filler paper needed depends on the amount of binders teachers request. Either way, Staples is the best place to go for five packs of paper or just one.
With those items alone, Patch had $54.95 left at Staples and $48.05 at Target. The following is a list of the rest of the supplies the Patch had to pick up:
- Ticonderoga pencils (24 pk)
- Bic blue ink pens (12 pk)
- Pencil pouch
- Erasers (2 pk)
- Hand pencil sharpener
- Crayola colored pencils
- Pocket dictionary
- 1 inch binder
- Binder dividers
- Crayola crayons (24 pk)
- Elmer glue sticks (pk of 4)
- Crayola markers (12 pk)
- Notebook (4)
- Folders (2)
- Index cards
Target makes up its expensive filler paper with the prices of many of its supplies. Binders, highlighters, pencil sharpeners and Crayola markers are all less expensive than its counterparts at Staples.
Another point of contention? Pocket dictionaries. Many teachers will advise parents to get a handy dictionary for their students, and Staples provides one for $2.00, but it’ll cost you $5.49 at Target.
After all is added up, though, which store will stretch Patch’s budget the farthest? The answer is Staples. As a part of their back to school sales, if a customer purchases a Back to School Savings Pass for $10, he or she can get 15 percent off their entire purchase. Patch bought everything for the list as well as the Savings Pass and $111.36, but with the extra savings, the total is brought down to $94.67.
Coming more than five dollars under budget, Patch was able to pick up a couple of extra pen or pencil packs. At Target, however, everything on the list rang up to $102.89, which means something needed to be put back, and at $3.99, the pencil pouch was sadly left off the list.
However, remember these prices depend on the shopper, the types of brands they prefer and how much a student needs. If your student needs a small amount of supplies, a pencil pouch, pens, an eraser and some binders for example, Target is the place to go. For the bigger savings though on a larger amount of items, head to Staples for the Savings Pass for all back to school needs.