It’s hot outside here in Phoenix; however, the summer monsoon winds are shifting the vibe. Summer break has passed, August is here. It’s time to get the kids ready to head back to school. Eager parents are geared up to find the cheapest deals on school supplies. Late summer school supply shopping season seems to rival holiday shopping in December, but you won’t find the high prices this summer if you’re a savvy shopper.
Let’s face it, rising prices exist now. According to the National Retail Federation, families will be spending $168 more on average this year on school supplies, as compaged to what was spent in 2019, pre-pandemic. It’s for this reason that Phoenix on the Cheap has rounded up our top 5 cheapest sources for school supplies here in the Valley of the Sun.
Click on each heading for a direct link to the shopping site. Let us know here at Phoenix on the Cheap if you find better deals elsewhere and we’ll add them to this post.
1.Rule the School with Target
As a parent and as a former educator, I’ve always loved the deals at Target. With the majority of items under $10 and deals even starting under $1, customers will find thousands of back-to-school and college supplies, apparel, snacks and more across many only-at-Target and national brands.
Click here to find the Target in your neighborhood.
2.Cash Back from ibotta
Have you tried getting cash back for your purchases from ibotta? For your school supply purchases this year, it’s worth it! Here’s how it works:
Get the ibotta app or browser extension. Click here to download. Sign in or sign up for your free ibotta account.
Choose your retailer. Choose where you want to shop for school supplies: Walmart, Sam’s Club, Kohl’s, and more. The offer is not valid at all retailers, so check the retailer list when you download the app.
Add offers. Add the offers to “Your List” and redeem them in-store or online at your chosen retailer.
Here’s an ibotta deal, get 100% cash back on select school supplies.
3.Walmart under budget school finds
Check out Walmart’s site, it’s very user friendly and links you to some cheap school supply deals.
Enter your zip code at the top of the page and find suggested supplies listed for your child’s specific school. (Hint: just enter your zip code, because when you enter the school’s name, nothing comes up. I found this out when entering my son’s school and neighboring schools too.)
Scrolling down the page, shoppers can find supplies suggested for different grade levels, like crayons for elementary students, backpacks for middle schoolers, and iPads for high school students.
The latest deals on the basics–paper, pencils, notebooks, erasers all under $1.00 are shown toward the bottom of the page.
4.OfficeMax for both students and teachers
The key to cheap deals at OfficeMax is to join their rewards program. It doesn’t cost anything to sign up and you’ll enjoy–
- Earned rewards on purchases
- Personalized shopping experiences
- Faster checkout and saved purchase history
- Exclusive members-only savings
OfficeMax offers a full range of standard school supplies, but also electronics–like computers and printers. You’ll find some good deals on office furniture too, check their specials. I bought a 4-foot long electronically rising desk on sale for around $200 last year for my son at OfficeMax.
Teachers, if you’re looking for additional deals from OfficeMax and other sources, click here.
5.Costco for back to school
I’m not a big fan of buying wholesale in bulk. I have a small family, so I don’t need to buy in large quantities. Taking into consideration Costco’s annual fee though, it still has some really great cheap deals for back to school.
You won’t find nickel and dime prices, but you’ll find value. At Costco, for example, it’s actually cheaper per ream to buy an entire case of copy paper as opposed to an individual ream. You can purchase a box of 100 pencils or pens for $12.99. Also, load up on quanities of binders at 6 for $10. Current electronic specials are laptops between $200 and $300, and iPads for $400.
Shopping at Costco totally pays off if you have a large family. If you don’t, no worries, possibly buy together with another household in order to take advantage of the overall savings.
Hint: I know we all love the dollar stores, like Dollar General and Dollar Tree, but beware, you’re not always saving money on school supplies. For example they may offer a package of erasers for $1, while Target and Walmart are selling the same item for around $.50.
Best wishes to you for the coming school year!
Thank you to Phoenix on the Cheap’s sister sites at Living on the Cheap for contributing to this post.