Save On School Supplies

It's that time of year...when thoughts turn from swimming and sunscreen to school supplies. It also means big sales on everything back-to-school.

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

For many kids, the start of school brings the excitement of shopping for school supplies.

But where do you find the best prices?

Jody Rohlena of ShopSmart Magazine says, "Stores lure you in with great deals, like pencils for a penny. But you have to be careful or you could wind up paying too much for the other items on your list."

ShopSmart magazine wanted to know which stores had the best everyday deals, and sent secret shoppers to check prices at Office Depot, Staples, Target, and Walmart.

And the bargains weren't always where you'd expect.

Rohlena says, "You might think and 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 items.

Store-brand, two-pocket folders at Staples cost a dollar-one, compared to Walmart's 48 cents.

How about notebooks? Mead, Five-Star, one-subject notebooks at staples go for $6.02-but Walmart's got them for $2.76.

And loose-leaf paper? Norcom brand packages of 150 sheets at Office Depot were $3.01. Go to Walmart and you'll pay just 82 cents.

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

ShopSmart says as a general rule look for store brands. They can save you nearly 75 percent.

ShopSmart also suggest 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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