Should You Buy Your School’s School Supply Kit?

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I did something last year that I've never done before. 


And honestly, something I've just about always sworn off off.


I ordered Reagan's school supply kit from her school.




(Yup, I've officially joined the darkside.) 🙂

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The reason I did it? Because while I think I *maybe* could have found these items cheaper on my own, it never fails that the week before school I end up spending hours hunting down one item on their list that I can't find, and I wasn't sure the hassle was worth it.


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So, I decided to do the math and compare these prices to what the basic prices were last year at Walmart & Target, and see how things looked. Let's take a peek!

  • 1 – Crayola Markers, Washable, Classic Colors, Wide Tip, 8/Set
  • 1 – Kleer-Fax Dividers, 3 Ring, 5-Tab, 11″ x 8.5″
  • 1 – SchoolKidz Pencil Case, Fabric, 3-Hole w/Grommets, 10″x 6″, Asst.
  • 1 – SchoolKidz Storage Bags, Economy Zip, Qrt 25 or Gallon 15
  • 1 – C-Line Expanding File, Poly, Reinforced, Ltr Sz, 7 Pocket, Asst
  • 1 – Staples Notebooks, Spiral, 2Pk, WR, 70Ct, Blue/Red
  • 1 – Wilson Jones Binder, 3 Ring, Heavy Duty, View, 1.5″, White
  • 2 – Staples Highlighter, Chisel Tip, Yellow, w/Pkt Clip
  • 2 – Staples Composition Book, Marble Cover, WR, 100 Sheets, BLK
  • 1 – Staples Filler Paper, Wide Rule, 10.5″ x 8″, 120/Pk
  • 1 – Crayola Pencils, Colored, 7″, Sharpened, 12/Set
  • 1 – Staples Pencils, #2, Unsharpened, All Wood, Dz.
  • 1 – Fiskars Scissors, 7″, Student, Pointed Tip, Latex Free, Asst.
  • 2 – Elmer's Glue Stick, Washable, Purple, Dries Clear, .77 oz.
  • 1 – Bonus Items “Money From Home” Envelopes & Student ID Labels

Total = $30


At Walmart & Target (based on every day prices last summer

  • Crayola Markers Washable 10 ct = $1.97 at Walmart
  • 3 ring dividers 5 tab =$1.59
  • Pencil Case = $1 at Walmart and Target
  • Ziploc Storage Bags 1 gallon (25 qt) = $2.84
  • 7 pocket Expanding File Poly Folder = $4.97 at Walmart
  • 2 Spiral Notebooks 70 ct = 25¢ each
  • 1.5″ 3 ring binder = $3.74 at Walmart
  • 2 yellow highlighter = $.87 at Target
  • 2 composition notebooks = 50¢ each at Walmart and Target
  • 120 ct filler paper = 82¢ at Walmart
  • 12 ct colored pencils = 97¢ at Walmart
  • 1 dozen unsharpened pencils = 97¢ at Walmart for 2 dozen
  • 7″ fiskars scissors = 97¢ at Walmart
  • 2 .77 oz glue stick = $2.97 at Walmart for 3

Total = $25.18

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Sooooooo, I think I got a wee bit scammed. 🙂


Okay, okay, not really, *but*, here are my thoughts on this one:

  • I paid $5 convenience ~ really, that was okay with me right now.
  • It will make my life much easier come August.
  • It wasn't the end of the world to over pay by $5 on this one.


The prices I compared to above are the Walmart and Target every-day-no-crazy-loss-leader-sales on those items.




If I'd waited 'til the crazy back-to-school summer sales, Staples, Office Max & Office Depot would have dropped those prices pretty significantly and I'm betting I could have gotten everything for $15.


My conclusion?


If you're crazy busy and have absolutely no extra time on hand this summer, it may be be worth it to you to buy that back to school kit and make your life easy.




If you have a little extra time, wait for the back-to-school sales because my bet is you can save a bundle. And, if you have a bunch of kids (like 3 or more?), that savings could add up to $45 or quite a bit more pretty quickly.


And, remember that when you pick up those loss leaders you can also grab a few more to donate to other folks for just a few pennies ~ one more reason to shop those back to school sales (and what I'll be doing this summer!)


Do you usually buy the back-to-school kits at your school? I'd love to hear if you think they've been worth it!


Curious what the school supply prices looked like last summer? Head on over HERE. 

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  1. Thank you for doing this – helpful!

  2. Thank you for posting this. Some people need the reassurance that their time (with their kids) is just as important if not more, than they money you’d save.

    With that being said, as a family we put together 300+ backpacks with school supplies in them every year, for kids in need, and I thrive on the HUGE discounts to be able to put them together. So part of our thrill is finding the bargain basement prices, because the more I save, the more backpacks we can put together.

    • I love that you’re able to do that Kindra – thank you so much for sharing! And SO fun that you’re able to get awesome deals (that’s the most fun part too!)

  3. So, I actually chair the committee for this at our school. I price checked almost every single item for every single grade with Walmart everyday prices. The only significant item difference was disinfectant wipes. (I ended up sourcing those somewhere else to make sure no one paid too many much.) So, the total cost was really close to what the average person would pay because only a percentage of people are actually paying really close attention. BUT, the company donates a meal to a kid with every purchase AND our school earned about $10 for every box AND everyone that ordered saved time. It’s an excellent program if there is a good person overseeing the details in my opinion.

  4. Our previous school did kits for $30, which yes, was worth the convenience for me, but our current school is charging $75 this year!! Nope. I’ll drive and shop online for that, not to mention reuse supplies like pencil boxes and scissors.

  5. Where I live, Walmart is an hour round-trip, Target & Office Depot TV farther. I wish we’d had the option pool n of ordering a lit! $15 more wouldn’t have been a big deal here!

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