CLEVELAND - "Paper, folders, scissors, crayons," Benoit Santiago says, rattling off the list of items she needs to pick up for her son.
You expect the basics to be on a back to school shopping list, but a few tech items are tripping up shoppers.
Louise Tennyson looked at her grandson she’s raising and said, “What was that, a jump start? What was that? A junk drive." Tennyson is getting a few lessons from her fifth grader, as she never saw a junk or flash drive on the shopping list before this year.
In a flash, these items can cost you big.
Tennyson said she expects to spend around $50.
Back to school shopping for $10-20
We found ways to cut that bill in half.
“We love to save money,” Santiago said.
We're on your side saving you cash.
We shopped eight stores including Target, OfficeMax, Staples, CVS, Walmart, Big Lots, Dollar General and Walgreens.
We searched for the best deals and consulted money saving blogger Stacy Smith who says she did her shopping for just $10.
"The key to really saving is watching the ads and matching the coupons with the sale," Smith said.
Smith does this constantly on her blog, " Saving in Akron ." She matches sales for a variety of stores with coupons to save you money.
When it comes to back to school shopping, pilot pens are an item you can really save by stacking coupons. They're on sale at Walgreens for 99 cents.
If you print off the manufacturer coupon from the Internet, and use the in-store instant value coupon you'll earn money. You’ll get the pens for free, plus you’ll get $1 toward other purchases.
Deciding when to purchase is the second key to saving. Watch the sales and plan your shopping trip.
"Everyone has their buy point, and you know when that buy point is," Smith explained.
For Benoit Santiago it made sense to shop when glue hit 25 cents and notebooks dropped to just 15 cents.
"When I see it go real low I'm ready to buy now," Santiago explained.
Big backpack savings
Backpacks are the big buy this week.
"I like getting new backpacks," second grader Valentina Santiago said. Valentina focuses on style, but if you're a mom or dad focused on price you’ll want to buy now.
Walgreens has a buy one get one free option. Staples and OfficeMax have rewards and rebates. If you spend $40 on a backpack, you'll get $40 to spend on your next purchase.
"Free is always good. Free is always better,” Smith said.
If you don't want to deal with all these free gimmicks, spend a few minutes reading the weekly circulars and you'll save.
In our test, Target offered the best deals. We got 17 items on our list for just $21.73.
Remember, prices can vary by store and change weekly.
Click here to see the prices we found at stores we shopped and see how you can save.
In our test, CVS had the highest prices followed by Walgreens.
Don't dismiss Walgreens, though. They had some good buy one get one free deals that could save you big bucks if you have multiple kids attending school. It might be worth it to spend 20 cents more to buy the binder at Walgreens because you're getting two for the price of one.
When you're shopping these sales, watch for prices to vary depending on the quantity you buy. For example, OfficeMax has glue sticks two for $3. If you buy just one, you'll pay $1.99 not $1.50. Don't assume you get the sale price if you buy just one item. Read the fine print under the sale sticker.
Shopping around really does pay off. Take colored pencils by RoseArt. OfficeMax sells them for $2.59. Staples sells them for $1.49, and Target has them for just 75 cents. So, shopping around can save you money.
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