Where to Shop for Back to School

Amazon is good for cleaning supplies and school supplies, but look to Best Buy for new laptops.
Updated
shopping for supplies

Back to School season is upon us, and with inflation driving up costs, many families are concerned about the best places to shop to stay within budget. One easy way to accomplish this feat is by knowing where to buy school supplies in the first place. We've rounded up the top stores to help shoppers tackle this annual tradition without having to sacrifice too much cash. Check out our guide below on the best places to shop for school supplies as well as what kinds of deals you can expect.

Where to Shop for Back to School

SEE ALSO: Back to School Sales for 2022 Are Live! Here's What to Expect

Amazon

The online retailer sells pretty much anything you can think of, so it should come as no surprise that it's one of the top stores for shopping for Back to School supplies. But just because it sells a variety of items doesn't mean you'll find good deals on everything on your supply list. However, there are definitely still categories where it pays to utilize your Prime account: notably backpacks, cleaning items, and more traditional school supplies.

For instance, in August 2021, Amazon cut up to 40% off hardcover planners; up to 49% off select Arteza pens, markers, and paints; and up to 78% off BIC writing instruments. There were also plenty of individual offers, including things like a 12-count package of Elmer's purple glue sticks for $4, a 12-count package of BIC Intensity dry erase markers for $6, and insulated lunch totes for $18.

Best Buy

You might not think of Best Buy when contemplating Back to School shopping, but the truth is that it's a great place to look for tech deals around this time of year. From laptops and printers to accessories and even bags to safeguard those pricey devices, you can find a good bit of what you need at Best Buy.

Staples might not be on the Back to School radar, but it should be with supply costs as low as 50 cents each and bonus savings in the form of coupons.

Last year, Best Buy cut the price of the Apple iPad mini 5 to $300 — it was a 2019 model with 64GB of storage, but still a solid purchase that earned our Staff Pick designation. Other deals that registered as best of the best included an Acer Chromebook for $429, a Lenovo Yoga 6 laptop for $700, and a 2020 model Apple MacBook Air for $800. And considering the retailer hosted a Back to School Laptop Shopping Event with deals up to $300 off, there was almost certainly some kind of tech to fit every budget.

Staples

As an office supply store, Staples should probably be on more shoppers' radars, but many probably think there isn't a lot of overlap for office and school supplies. However, the truth is that there are plenty of items suitable for offices and backpacks alike at the retailer.

SEE ALSO: When to Splurge or Save on School Supplies

For instance, last year Staples knocked up to 50% off select 3M school supplies, as well as up to 70% off in general on items that included standards such as:

  • Pens
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
This sale also included items like toilet paper and face masks, so it wasn't restricted to just more traditional products. Watch for super affordable name-brand items as well — in August 2021, Staples offered Crayola products for as little as 50 cents, including a 24-pack of crayons, while a 12-pack of markers and a 12-pack of pre-sharpened color pencils with a sharpener included cost only $1 each. Parents looking for affordable school supplies could also find notebooks for 50 cents each and scientific calculators for $5. If you're planning to stock up all in one place, be sure to look for additional savings in the form of coupons; last August, Staples offered $5 off orders of $100 or more, or an extra $25 off orders of $150 or more.

Target

The bull's-eye retailer might just be one of the only stores you can do all your shopping in one spot, whether it's for K-12 students or new graduates heading off to college for their freshman year. Shoppers can take advantage of school supply deals that offer savings of up to 85% off, dropping prices as low as 25 cents to start. These included traditional items such as notebooks, glue, and pencils, but also other, more niche products like stationary and craft supplies. Looking for dorm supplies? Task chairs fell to $20 or less depending on the style, while licensed pro and college team items were part of a buy one, get 30% off promotion so you could rep your favorite sports team for less. Target also offered up to 25% off select Apple products, so if new tech is on your list, it's a good place to start — especially if you have a RedCard and can save an additional 5% on your purchases.

Target is ideal for a one-stop shop, whether you need items for grades K-12 or for fresh college students moving out for the first time.

Watch for the retailer to also offer deals on health, beauty, and even household essentials that'll make stocking new dorm rooms and apartments much easier with no need to break the bank. Target offered a promotion on bath, body, and facial care items last year where shoppers could earn a free $5 gift card when they purchased four eligible products, or a free $15 gift card with the purchase of $50 in household essentials.

Ready to shop? Check out all the best Back to School offers available now!


Julie Ramhold
Senior Staff Writer/Consumer Analyst

Julie's work has been featured on CNBC, GoBankingRates, Kiplinger, Marketwatch, Money, The New York Times, Real Simple, US News, WaPo, WSJ, Yahoo!, and more. She's extolled the virtues of DealNews in interviews with Cheddar TV, GMA, various podcasts, and affiliates across the United States, plus one in Canada.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).

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