Back to School (Supplies Edition)

So – we are getting ready to start back to school. Our school district always offers these school supply packs during the previous school year for us to purchase. It really does make life so much easier. But they are really dang expensive!


The last two years I have done the supply pack for both Mackenzie and Chase – it just seemed to make sense and I assumed it was marked up a TAD for the convenience factor of it. Well, well, well….it is not marked up a TAD. It is a pure-straight-up-rob-me-from-right-under-my-nose-SCAM!

My amazing mother-in-law & awesome nephew, Austen, helped me with the research on this one and the results are in:

Comparison of Supply List Pricing – with School Supply Pack LISD

Click on the image above to see the PDF.

They visited Walgreens, Target and Walmart. Walmart was definitely the best buy! And let me reiterate – the school supply pack was approximately $43 for 2nd graders and they found all of the supplies at Walmart for $13-15!!!!! My goodness!   Let me note – it has been brought to my attention that LISD uses this as a fundraiser (but I am not sure how well that is promoted since I have never-ever taken note of this in 3 years).

Anyhow – hope this is helpful to you. If for no other reason than to encourage you to weigh your options!


  1. This is a GREAT article!

  2. Great to have the side-by-side comparison! I was doing the exact thing with my “back-to-school” flyers I received from Staples, OfficeMax and OfficeDepot…then discovered the sales all expired last weekend while we were at SeaWorld! I tossed it all and vowed to fight it out at WalMart!

  3. okay teacher answer time…

    We prefer that packaged school supply thing a million times over whatever random crap parents bring in! It makes me sick that the PTA is making money like that, because it could be a great deal if it wasn’t such a damn racket!

  4. I’ve asked our PTA for the last 2 years exactly HOW MUCH is going to the school, and how much is going to the business that puts these packs together, and no one can tell me – including the PTA president and the principal. I don’t know if THEY don’t know or what, but it seems like a real scam. And our packs are usually in the $50 range! Thanks for the research!

  5. GRRR I hate how much money parents have to shell out for school supplies. It is RIDICULOUS. And, respectfully to Jamie Harrington, the “random crap” is what we buy when we’re asked to spend 3 times as much for a specific brand of pens or pencils or paper or whatever and we have 3 kids to buy for and we’ve looking at a bill of like $150 for 3 kids. So, crayons are crayons. Paper is paper. And sometimes my kids like the folder with the kitty on it better than the plain red one. What ever happened to the days when kids actually enjoyed picking out their own school supplies?

  6. I come at this from both sides, having been a 1st grade teacher and now a homeschool Mama!

    As a teacher, I needed certain things to all be the same…such as red folders for reading groups, or a certain type of handwriting paper with correct line spacing. Some of it was for my convenience…I would collect all the boxes of crayons at the beginning of the year (each student needed 2) and then give out the 2nd box after Christmas break. It was so much easier to pass them all back out if they were all the same to start with!

    Now, the cost is unreal and I cannot believe more parents haven’t brought this to the PTA’s attention. To pay 2 or 3 times the amount for supplies is crazy! I know our “wrap packs” cost in the $30 range, and I never once heard that it was a fundraiser type deal. Interesting.

    Now as a homeschool Mama, I love the excitement of letting my boy pick out the Dr. Seuss pencils & the Transformer folder. But then again, we do school work in our pjs some days!

    I think there is room for variety, just as there is *some* need for things being all the same.

  7. It is great to see these prices side by side. When my first one entered kindergarten a few years ago I took her out and we bought all of the supplies. I let her pick out the special folder she wanted, etc. I was a little sad to find out that they never see these things. She had picked one she wanted but they all seem to go into a pile or whatever. So the past 2 years I have purchased the school packs through the PTA… this year I paid over $110 for a kindergarten and 2nd grade pack. I would have much rather paid $30 or so! I am going to re-think the pre-paid school packs for sure!
    Thank you!

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