Consumer Reports: saving on school supplies - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Consumer Reports: saving on school supplies

(WMC-TV) - It's that time of year again, when thoughts turn from swimming and sunscreen to school supplies.

It also means big sales on everything back-to-school.

Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine did some homework, sizing up everyday prices to help you find the best bargains.

It sent secret shoppers to check prices at Office Depot, Staples, Target and Walmart. The bargains weren't always where you'd expect.

You might think an office-supply store is the best place to go, but often it wasn't. In fact, Staples and Office Depot tied for the highest prices on most items in ShopSmart's research.

Store-brand, two-pocket folders at Staples cost a $1.01, compared with Walmart's 48 cents. 

Mead, Five-Star, one-subject notebooks at Staples go for $6.02, but Walmart has them for $2.76. 

Norcom brand packages of 150 sheets of notebook paper at Office Depot were $3.01. At Walmart, you'll pay just 82 cents.

Walmart had the least-expensive prices on the most items, and in many cases, Target was right behind them.

ShopSmart said as a general rule, look for store brands. They can save you almost 75 percent.

ShopSmart also suggested asking for a price match if you see a better deal somewhere else. Office Depot, Staples, Target, and Walmart all have price-matching policies. Just bring an ad to the store from your local paper, or call it up on your smart phone to get the better price. 

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