Brenda Snowardt's kids don't even want to think about back-to-school shopping yet. They are still enjoying their summer vacation. But the family says they plan to tackle school supplies in a couple weeks.
"I usually decide to go to Walmart because they are cheaper and they usually have everything I need," said Snowardt.
Brenda has a freshman and a junior at Southridge. She spends a little over $50.00 per kid on school supplies each summer. No fancy pencils or notebooks though. Brenda is focused on prices.
"I've gone to Target and I've gone to Shopko and I look at prices and I'll look at them and I'll be like, well, let's go back to Walmart!" she said.
Brenda's judgment is spot-on.
After comparing prices at Walmart and Target, Walmart came up a bit cheaper, by about 10 bucks.
We looked at school supply lists across the three districts for kindergarten. Richland has school-specific lists available. Kennewick and Pasco just offer generic lists for another couple of weeks. I took the cheapest offering on the list at each store, whether that was brand name or store brand. For a kindergartner at Badger Mountain in south Richland, the supply list totaled just over $55.00. At Walmart, the same list of supplies cost just over $43.00.
Using the same method, the generic lists for kindergartners in Pasco and Kennewick came to a total of almost $14.00 at Target. And only $10.00 at Walmart.
Pens, pencils and notebooks, and folders were similarly priced at both stores. We found big differences in the crayons, backpacks, and binders. A 24 pack of Crayola crayons were 50-cents at Target and $1.97 at Walmart. The cheapest backpack we could find at the Richland Target was $14.00. While only $9.00 at the Richland Walmart. Binders were about a dollar cheaper at Walmart.
The best deals were at the supplies at your feet, not at eye level. Those tended to cost the most. While school supplies can add up, Brenda knows it's a necessity.
"It's very important, they need that kind of stuff to succeed in school," said Snowardt.
We looked at middle and high school prices as well. Due to the more expensive items on the list, like graphing paper, flash drives and binders, their total came to about $55.00 at Target and $45.00 at Walmart. That was without backpacks, scientific calculators, and art and music supplies. We also found a lot of people hoping to buy supplies, but couldn't without a specific class list.