Back to school is on it’s way-and with back to school comes the dreaded back to school shopping! There are clothes to buy and school supplies. . . it just seems hard to even contemplate it while the sun is shining and the kids are begging to go to the pool.
Who wants to spend a ton of time running back and forth to a bunch of different stores trying to get the best deal on notebooks and pencils? Walmart decided to challenge the Walmart Moms to buy their shopping list of school supplies at both Walmart and any other store of our choice to see if it was really worth your time to run around from store to store–or if you could just Save Money and Live Better by doing all your shopping at Walmart.
I decided to attack Princess’s school supply list for this challenge. I can’t believe it, but my little girl is growing up. This fall she will be heading to middleschool to start 6th grade. She’s looking forward to walking to school, having a locker and changing rooms for each class. I’m mourning the fact that my little girl is starting to turn into a tween/teen. It just doesn’t seem possible.
What also doesn’t seem possible is the HUGE 6th grade school supply list. I don’t know how she will even be able to fit all of this in a locker!
Princess’s 6th Grade School Supply List
2 ea: 2” 3 ring binder (1 red or pink, 1 blue)
1 ea: 1” 3 ring binder (1 green, 1 any color)
2 ea: 1 subject spiral notebook
7 ea: 2 pocket folders (1 red, 2 green, 4 any color)
2 ea: packages of binder dividers/tabs
1 ea: 3 subject notebook
1 ea: composition notebook
2 ea: packages of loose leaf paper
9X12 Sketch Pad
4 drawing pencils
Eraser, sharpener & pencil case
Blue or Black pens
See what I mean? That is a TON of stuff.
To take the challenge I loaded the kiddos into the car and headed out. I chose to do my shopping at what is probably Walmart’s biggest national competitor (you can guess who) not only because they are the biggest competitor, but because the two stores are practically across the street from each other. When you are already driving a half hour just to get to the store you really don’t want to drive across town to comparison shop and add more time into your trip.
When it was all said and done, well, the competitor came in $1.26 below Walmart.
What? I actually did a double take. . .but then I realized what happened. I was not able to buy the exact same items and brands in each store-there were minor differences like buying the competitors store brand binders and pencils instead of the national brands at Walmart. Those were all pretty close–but they just didn’t have the same thing for the art sketch pencils that were required. At Walmart I purchased a set of 12 artist pencils that cost $5.77 and a separate pencil sharpener for $1.87. At the competitor they had a mixed box of 6 pencils with a sharpener and eraser included which cost $6.99. It was sort of a comparing apples to oranges type thing. So let’s remove those:
So the competitor came in $.61 cheaper. So if you really come down to it, you basically pay the same amount at either place. Which means, of course, that while you are already at Walmart doing the rest of your shopping you can pick up all your school supplies as well and feel confident that they are priced just as low as the competition!
And while you are at it, my frugal tip is always to pick up your office supplies for the year (or any of those school supplies that you KNOW you will be getting a letter home in February for–“Please, we are out of glue sticks and crayons” etc). Theses supplies are never this cheap at any other time of the year.
Now some of you are probably wondering what they heck I am going to do with two full sets of school supplies. Well, of course I COULD just hold on to the second set and have extras. . . Walmart told us that we could do what we wanted with them. Seeing as we live in a fairly economically depressed areas, instead of keeping them we are going to hold on to them until Labor Day and then at the yearly community Labor Day festival we will donate the supplies to the annual “Stuff a Bus”. That’s a charity event where folks from the community are encouraged to buy extra school supplies drop them by to be literally “stuffed” into a big school bus at the fest–they are then distributed to kids in our community who can’t afford their own supplies.