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Your child's school supply list can seem overwhelming! And you also don't want to break the bank with the rising cost of school supplies. So here are the best places for cheap yet high quality brand name school supplies online. Your child's teacher might specify a particular brand, often a popular one (e.g. Crayola washable markers), and the stores listed here will stock these well-known brand names.
Different stores tend to be cheaper for different items, so it's worth shopping around if you want to get the best value. A big advantage of shopping online is all the time and gas you'll save from not having to go from store to store.
The best time to find school supplies on sale online in the U.S. is typically in mid July through early August. During that season, different stores tend to rotate their product deals weekly, so there isn't really one best week to shop. It just comes down to which products you care about being on sale. Rest assured you'll get a good deal if you buy school supplies anywhere from mid July to early August.
Here is where to buy cheap school supplies online:
This turned out to be a surprise winner for me! It can seem odd to shop at a pharmacy for your standard back to school supplies, but rest assured that Rite Aid online has a lot of stock available online at prices that rival Walmart's. Even if your physical Rite Aid store doesn't have much available, rest assured they keep plenty of stock available online at cheap prices. All of the standard basics: Elmer's glue, Crayola crayons, post-it notes, folders, and much more are available there. It's my go-to online store for school supplies.
A great standby for all the back-to-school basics, Walmart stocks most items on a typical school supply list at an affordable price. The only downside about online shopping at Walmart is that it allows third-party sellers to sell there also, which can make the search results confusing. To limit your search results just to Walmart.com itself and not third-party sellers, just go to "filters" and under "retailer" select "walmart.com".
It's not always everyone's first go-to when they think of school supplies, but I've always found Staples online to be cheapest for the hard-to-find items, such as unusual folder colors. They are also great for items that have gone out of stock elsewhere - you can usually still get them at Staples.
I've noticed they are often already cheapest for pre-sharpened Ticonderoga pencils, blank index cards and lined index cards. They're not always cheapest for every item on your child's school supply list, but for certain items they are, so it's worth taking a good look.
Target always has a great selection of cheap school supplies online. I also like that they have really cheap art sketchpads, which can otherwise become a big-ticket item. Another thing I like about Target is that since they sell pretty much everything, it's easy to qualify for the free shipping order minimum.
Office Depot Office Max
Another great all-around place for affordable school supplies online is Office Depot Office Max. I especially like the low pricing on their 1 inch binders and quad ruled notebooks and paper.
Teachers often specify the Crayola brand on school supply lists - this is because Crayola products are washable. If the teacher has requested a particular specialized Crayola product and you can't find it at stores, don't worry! You can shop directly at Crayola.com. Their modeling compounds such as Model Magic and modeling clay are available there, as well as any other Crayola product you can imagine.
If the teacher has put a specialized Crayola item on the list that you can't find at other stores, you'll be able to get it at Crayola.com, as well as of course all of their more standard products.
Amazon is a great place to shop school supplies online, although often the items are sold in more bulk than you might want. Still, it's worth checking out and there are some good deals to be had, especially if you need several of one item.
If you're looking for the best places to buy school supplies online, I recommend Rite Aid, Walmart, Staples, Target, Office Depot Office Max, Crayola.com, and Amazon. All of these stock high quality products which your teacher may have specified by brand name in your child's list of recommended school supplies. And by shopping around online you'll have the satisfaction of getting the best deals on these.
If your child also needs back to school clothes, take a look at my list of the 6 best budget friendly kids clothing stores - it's a sanity-saver!