Back-To-School Cheat Sheet: Where To Get The Best Deals On School Supplies

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For many families, getting ready to go back to school is not only a time-consuming process—it’s an expensive one.

The National Retail Federation’s 2015 Back-to-School Spending Survey found that families were planning to spend an average of $630.36 on clothing, electronics and school supplies for students grades K-12, with an average $103.92 spent solely on supplies like notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks and lunchboxes.

Thanks to Passionate Penny Pincher, families looking to cut down their back-to-school costs now have a handy guide for where to get the best deals on school supplies. Overall? WalMart seems to be leading with the lowest prices. Take an 8-count box of Crayola crayons, for example. At WalMart, you’ll pay 87 cents compared to $3.49 at Target, $1.00 at Staples and $3.29 at Office Depot/Max.

WalMart’s pricing does lose out to the other retailers on some items. Mechanical pencils, for example. You can get a 12-count pack at Staples for 75 cents versus $1.46 at WalMart or $1.17 at Target for a 10-count box.


You can print out this chart to take along with you on your school supply shopping trip at They feature other great money-saving tips and deals on back-to-school supplies.

If you’re wondering how Amazon stacks up, I did a little digging and that 8-count box of Crayola crayons is currently $2.60, and the cheapest pack of 10-count mechanical pencils I could find currently cost $2.94—so in both cases, the offline retailers still win.

That said, Amazon does have some great deals on specific back-to-school items. They are selling a 3-pack of Scotch tape for $3.00 as an add-on item. That price is currently $.50 cheaper than WalMart.  You can also pick up a box of 144 No. 2 pencils for $9.98.

Some readers also suggested checking out dollar stores, as you can get a lot of these items at discount stores for an even cheaper price. Additionally, this list does not factor coupons into the price, and that could change where you’ll get the best deals.   Another great suggestion is to take advantage of the Staples price matching policy.  You can save an additional 10% after their discount.

PassionatePennyPincher does point out, too, that Target, Staples and Office Depot/Office Max have lower prices on their store brands that are not all included on this list. As with anything buying “name brand” is usually at a higher premium.

How do you cut back-to-school costs for your family? Tell us on Facebook and happy shopping!


These Two Relatives Have Exchanged The SAME Birthday Card For 47 Years

Despite the number of digital aids out there aimed at helping us remember birthdays, it’s still easy to miss one. Facebook makes it simple to shoot off a quick “Happy Bday!” message on someone’s wall, but actually sending a card is another thing.

These two relatives have taken sending birthday wishes to the next level. As Reddit user LincolnsLostSpeach shared, her fiance’s uncle and cousin have exchanged the SAME EXACT birthday card with each other for 47 years. That’s 94 exchanges of one card.

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Not only is it amazing that the paper card, a Hallmark creation purchased in 1970 for 25 cents, hasn’t ripped, disintegrated or been lost in the mail after being sent 96 times—it’s amazing that the two men, Bill and Steve, have each been on top of their card-sending game for nearly half a century.

Here’s the front of the card:

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Thanks for inspiring us, Bill and Steve!

Save Over $1,300 A Year With This Easy Chart

Every new year, I like to set some new goals. One of the goals I like to create focuses on saving a little more money. I’ve found the following approach a great way to save over $1,300 a year.

The wonderful folks over at A Helicopter Mom put together this easy chart to help you track your savings goal.

Make Saving Money Simple

The concept is simple: Make a weekly deposit that matches which week of the plan you’re on e.g. $1 on week one, $2 on week two, etc. The largest sum of money you’ll put away is $52 on week 52.

saving money photo
Flickr | 401(K) 2013

The beauty of this approach to saving is that you ease into it. You become accustomed to setting money aside each week with amounts that won’t break the bank for most of us. By the time you hit the halfway point—week 26—you’ll store $26, bringing your yearly balance to $351. At the end of 52 weeks, you’ll have socked away $1,378 total.

Some of our readers have made the fine suggestion of doing this challenge backwards. It’s easier to get the hard part out of the way first, and then countdown to zero!

Head on over to A Helicopter Mom to download the full PDF.

What Are You Saving For?

A Helicopter Mom says on her blog that a trip to Disney World motivated her to find a way to save without having to pay one large sum all at once. Considering that there’s a new “Avatar”-themed section now open at Disney, plus a possible “Star Wars”-themed hotel in the works. has there ever been a better time to visit The Happiest Place on Earth? Likely not.

walt disney world photo
Getty Images | Handout

Maybe you won’t use your $1,378 to fund a vacation but instead to buy holiday gifts, pay down debt, finally get that car repaired or fund several months of groceries.

Speaking of groceries, check out this other handy chart to see how much you should be spending on groceries each month based on the size of your family.

Growing Slower

Based on a “thrifty” budget, a family of four should be spending between $557-707 each month on groceries. That’s between $139.25 and $176.75 a week. A family of two could get by on $392 a month, which breaks out to just $98 a week. And if you are flying solo, Growing Slower thinks you could squeak by on around $50 a week of groceries.

You may have to get creative with couponing and strategic store shopping (for example, figure out what to buy and what not to buy at big box stores like Sam’s and Costco) in order to hit this budget. But just think, the more money you save at the grocery store, the more you’ll have to put away.

Other great ways to save money:

9 Simple Tricks To Live Greener And Save Money

See How Long It Takes You To Save For Things With This Real-Time Calculator

What You Should And Should Not Buy At Dollar Stores


JetBlue Offered Its Passengers On A Flight A Free Trip…If They Could All Agree On The Destination

Forget the debate the country is having over presidential candidates.  The real argument is over Costa Rica vs. Turks and Caicos.

In a fun social experiment (and promotion), JetBlue made a surprise announcement on a recent flight.  They told all the passengers that if they could unanimously agree on a vacation destination, they would all get a free flight to that location.

Watch the video above to see how it ended.

Hopefully, our politicians could learn a thing or two from this group of travellers.