With school just around the corner (and already beginning in some parts of the country), sales on school supplies are in full swing. As a homeschooling mom, I buy a ton of school supplies to tie us over until the sales hit again next August. I always strive to get things at a good price, but I don’t like to run from store to store looking for everything. After all, my time (and gas budget) is worth something, right?
A couple of weeks ago Walmart gave a few of the Walmart Moms a mission, and I chose to accept it. The assignment: Take a school supply list of my choice and buy the supplies at Walmart and another store of my choice to see who has the better overall prices.
To keep the assignment authentic, yet relevant to most of my readers, who have public schooled students, I went to our local school district website and grabbed the supply lists for my children’s grades. Even though we homeschool now, we use most traditional school supplies. If I end up not needing something, I’ll donate it to the school.
I took a look at the supply lists and added a few things that I knew I needed for homeschooling. Here’s the list I took shopping:
I needed to decide on a store besides Walmart to shop. I settled on Fred Meyer (a Kroger store), as I shop there a lot, and I was confident Fred Meyer would have everything on my list.
I wanted to compare prices, but I also wanted to shop authentically, and the fact is, I don’t always buy the lowest priced item. I decided to shop the way I would normally shop. Some brands I had to buy, because they were specified on the school supply list (such as Ticonderoga pencils). Other items I’m just picky about (buying Crayola vs. Roseart, for example), so I bought my preferred brand. And some items don’t really matter to me (folders, paper, notebooks, etc). For those items, I went for the cheapest option possible.
Here’s how it went.
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At the end of the day, I spent $71.88 at Walmart (the Medford store, for you locals) at $88.95 at Fred Meyer (the North Medford store). I was mostly able to find the same brands at both stores, but there were a few discrepancies.
After all that shopping, I’m not going to need school supplies for a long while! I still love both stores, but in the battle of the school supply prices, Walmart has the advantage over Fred Meyer.
*Disclosure: I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation to perform the above shopping comparison. Participation in this program is voluntary. All opinions are my own, always have been, always will be.
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I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.
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