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School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013

School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013 – Oakland County Moms Annual school supplies shopping guide for 2013. Which stores had the best prices on school supplies?

Either you’re stuck in summer mode and dreading the school supplies shopping, or you are eagerly looking forward to the Tuesday after Labor Day and the school supply shopping is your favorite summertime milestone. Either way, back to school season is here and so is the annual Oakland County Moms School Supplies Shopping Guide! I canvassed some local stores to find the best deals in Metro Detroit on school supplies. I visited Target, Meijer, Walmart, Kmart and Office Max.

School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013


I want to make note of a few things in reference to the School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013 chart… the items selected are some of the most commonly requested items to be purchased. This is not a complete list (as we all so painfully know) and doesn’t include some of the newer items like dry erase markers, etc. This school supply list includes some of the basics and is set up to be a gauge to see where the different stores fall in comparison to one another.

In a nutshell, the trend from the past few years continues and is even more apparent this year. Meijer and Walmart do their homework! I highly doubt it’s all by chance that their prices are so similar. Some of the differences I saw were that Meijer likes to clearly announce that the prices are sale prices. Every single item on this list was on sale at Meijer, with the sale prices running into September. Maybe this gives consumers the feeling that they are getting the best deal on school supplies. Walmart had the same prices, but there wasn’t any noticeable signage showing the savings. So, interesting tactic, Meijer. I wonder if it has proven to work for them.

When it comes to the actual school supplies I compared in the School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013, I tried to keep everything the exact same as far as brand, size, and style is concerned. (I tried to add in some additional items to the shopping list, but found it too difficult to compare due to differences in quality and brands.) For the 3-ring binders, I gave the pricing for the least expensive items I found in each store and the brands differed. I found pricing for the “view” style which has the clear plastic cover. Finally, if there was an instance where something was not a direct comparison, I made a note of it… this happened at Office Max with the glue sticks being a 3-pack instead of a 2-pack.

So overall, prices were pretty competitive and it may not be worthwhile to drive the distance looking for savings. It’s a safe bet to just go to the closest store, so long as it’s not Kmart or Office Max. Shame on you, Kmart. Don’t position yourself as the place for lower prices on school supplies if you can’t come through. We kind of expect it from Office Max, but not Kmart.

And, contrary to what most may worry about, prices for school supplies did not go up across the board. As a matter of fact, prices were lower at three of the stores (Meijer, Walmart, and Office Max) compared to last years prices on school supplies.

A few final School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013 notes
•    Target does a nice job directing everyone to the BTS shopping section with plenty of signage
•    Meijer nicely displayed all the big SALES
•    Walmart was probably the most disorganized
•    Kmart had zero signage and the supplies were located at the back of the store (which I happen to know because of my annual price comparison shopping project), but was the only one to provide printouts of school supply checklists by grade
•    Office Max seemed more interested in putting their more expensive school supply options front and center with the discounted items off to the side

School Supplies Shopping Guide 2013 has been brought to you by Oakland County Moms

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