Thriftiest Buys for Back-to-School Supplies

By Noah Henry  •  August 06, 2013

It’s hard out there for parents nowadays. School supply prices jumped an average 7.3 percent this year. Parents are expected to pay $577 for elementary school student, $763 for a middle school student, and $1,223 for a high school student. These are all substantial increases from 2012. Parents are taking measures to spend less in response to the economy and are expected to shell out $90.49 on school supplies, according to the National Retail Federation, which is a decrease from the $95.44 spent last year.

Remembering to avoid the peak of shopping season—mid-to-late August—is a good way to lessen the blow. The National Retail Federation also indicated that 72 percent of parents shop between one week and one month away from the start of the school year. But the key to a safe and sound spending spree is to always do your research.

Don’t worry; we’ve done it for you!


When the end of summer hits, you should take inventory of school items that have expired. Backpacks become weathered and worn throughout the year, so it’s usually best to pick one up before the start of the new semester. Yearly expenses such as this beg the question, where are the deals?



glasses girl


Oxford Clothing Notebook Backpack – Via ($9.99)


classic ebony


Classic Ebony – Via Target ($13)


high sierra benson daypack


High Sierra Benson Daypack Backpack – Via Backpacks Superstore ($16.99)


You can purchase backpacks from and Backpacks Superstore for 10 percent off through It doesn’t get more nifty, or thrifty, than that.


In 2013 parents are poised to pay $10 more for a graphic calculator, $4 more for post-it notes, and $7 more for a three-hole punch. The most important thing you can do as a parent to combat the rising prices is to shop around, only after you’ve scourged your home and sourced creatively from friends, neighbors and other parents. To help the struggling parent cope with these stingy times, we’ve created the following graphics to illustrate the lowest prices for essential school supplies.


Target Giveaway


1. Mead Five Star Personal Notebook - $3.29

2. Just Basics Economy #2 Pencils - $3.59

3. Average Durable Round Ring Reference Binder - $2.99

4. 12 BIC Round Stic Ballpoint Pens - $2.49

5. AT-A-GLANCE Two Days Per Page Planning Notebook - $13.49

6. 8 Digit Mini Handheld Calculator $3.49

Total: $29.34

Grand total after 20% discount (code SAVE20) at Office Max: $23.47



Target Giveaway


1. Construction Paper - $1.95

2. Colorations 8 Crayons - $0.75

3. 8 Washable Classic Markers - $3.11

4. Colorations Washable School Glue - $1.69

5. Colorations Washable Finger Paint - $2.79

6. Elmer’s School Glue $0.96

Total: $11.25

Total after 10% discount (code SAVE4BTS) at Discount School Supply: $10.13

Noah Henry Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!

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