It’s hard to believe it, but summer is almost over. This means it’s almost time for your kids to head back to school, and with the current inflation rate, you’re cringing at the thought of all the school supplies you need to buy.
Americans are expected to spend an average of $864 per household on back-to-school shopping in 2022 — a total of $36.9 billion — according to the National Retail Federation. Unfortunately, 68% of those who have already started shopping have seen higher prices on essential items.
You want to get your kids everything they need, but you also need to stick to a budget. Therefore, you’re more focused than ever on finding stores that offer affordable school supplies.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are six stops you’ll want to make to find everything on your kids’ back-to-school lists — and maybe even more — without overspending.
Standing true to its name, Family Dollar offers a wide array of school supplies at seriously affordable prices. You’ll find essentials such as art supplies, paper and folders both online and at your local store.
For example, a 20-count pack of Crayola Super Tips Washable Markers is $4 and several different bookbags are just $8. Put this store on your list to ensure you can get everything you need without going over budget.
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Another discount store that lives up to its name, Five Below has seriously great deals on school supplies. For example, you can find binder clips, sticky notes, folders, push pins and tape for just $1.
You’ll also find a Five-Star Six-Pocket Expanding File, a five-subject notebook, a padded cover notebook, an assortment of journals and more for just $5. Also worth noting, the store has an impressive selection of $5 bookbags, ensuring there’s something to meet everyone’s style.
You can always count on Walmart for affordable prices, and back-to-school supplies are no exception. For example, you can find plenty of items under $1, including a 10-count pack of Cra-Z-Art Classic Broadline Washable Markers for 50 cents, a two-count pack of Elmer’s Disappearing Purple Washable School Glue Sticks for 54 cents and a 10-pack of BIC Cristal Xtra Smooth Stick Ball Pens for 97 cents.
A few other notable deals include the 10-Digit LCD Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS Scientific Calculator for $9.99, a five plus one pack of BIC Brite Liner Highlighters for $1.52 and several different Arctic Zone lunch bags for less than $10.
Chances are, you can find everything your kids need for school with one Target shopping trip. To make sure they look their best, grab a few tees — starting at $4 — and a couple pairs of jeans — starting at $9 — or even school uniforms that start at $5 per piece.
As for school supplies, erasers start at 49 cents, folders start at 50 cents and binders start at 99 cents. Ensure they stay hydrated with a stylish CamelBak Eddy + Kids water bottle — available in a variety of styles — for $14.99, and if they pack their lunch, choose from an assortment of lunch boxes or bags for less than $10.
Don’t forget to stop by the dollar spot, as you’ll almost definitely find supplies they’ll love in this fun section.
Of course, traditional retailers aren’t the only place to find items on your kids’ back-to-school lists. Chances are, there’s at least one Goodwill store in your area, and there’s definitely more than one bargain to be found there.
“With thousands of retail stores across the country, the nonprofit serves as an affordable back-to-school shopping option for many families,” Kim Praniewicz, VP of marketing and mission advancement at Goodwill Industries of Central Florida. “While items are not guaranteed to be in stock, Goodwill is an excellent starting point for clothes, shoes, backpacks, supplies and more — all priced at an average of 30% below big box retailers.”
While not an actual brick-and-mortar store, garage sales can be a great place to score steep deals on back-to-school items. “At yard sales, there’s more negotiation room as people often just want to get rid of their items,” said Jacqueline Gilchrist, founder of the blog Mom Money Map. “If you attend yard sales hosted by teachers or parents with school-aged kids, you might not just find a deal, but a unique selection of school supplies that are no longer available in store.”
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