School Supply Challenge: My Final Tally

After a long and wonderful summer with all three kids at home, my boys headed back to school yesterday.

My oldest started second grade and my second oldest went off to kindergarten (booohooo – they are growing too fast!).

My 5 year-old was all smiles and proud excitement when he came home and told me that his teachers said he “acted like a 1st grader!” And my eight-year old flashed me two thumbs up when I asked how his day went, adding “If I had more thumbs, I’d put them up, too!”

I’d call that a success!

But how did my back-to-school shopping go? Was it equally as successful?

Two months ago, I asked all you moms and dads to join me in a little School Supply Challenge – to set a goal for how much you wanted to spend on school supplies and then put your awesome bargain hunting skills to work to get the best deals possible.

I told you that my goal was no more than $15.

Well, I am pleased to say that I made it; my final tally for the boys’ supplies was just $13.39!

Here’s how it all played out (remember, if there’s no dollar amount next to an item, that’s because I just grabbed it from my stockpile of supplies at home.)


  • 1 Box Crayola Crayons, 24 Count
  • 1 Box Crayola Markers, Wide Line, 8 Count $.99 (Target)
  • 1 Box Crayola Markers, Thin Line, 8 Count
  • 1 Bottle Purell Hand Sanitizer with pump, 8 fl. oz $1 (Target)
  • 1 Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, 10.7 oz $1.29 (Target, with coupons)
  • 1 Fiskars Scissors, child size blunt tip – $1.47 (Ugh – I totally overpaid at Walmart today, when I realized all five of our scissors had disappeared over the summer)
  • 1 Box Dixon Ticonderoga #2 Pencils (non-mechanical) 12 Count
  • 1 Box Tissues, 100 Count$.60 (CVS)
  • 1 Box Storage Bags, gallon size (preferably “slider” top)
  • 1 Box Storage Bags, quart size (preferably “slider” top) – $.54 (Target)
  • 1 Composition Notebook, wide ruled, 70 sheets (any color) – $.49 (Walgreens)
  • 3 Mead Spiral Notebooks, SOLID color cover, one subject, wide ruled
  • 4 Elmer’s Glue Stick, .77 oz
  • 3 Pink Erasers (for art room) $.59 (Walgreens)

Grade 2

  • 2 Nylon 3-hole punch pencil holders with one clear side
  • 4 Pink Erasers$.78 (Walgreens)
  • 2 Elmer’s Glue Bottles, 4 oz. – $.58 (Walgreens)
  • 2 Elmer’s Glue Sticks, 4 oz.
  • 2 Boxes Tissue, 100 Count $1.20 (CVS)
  • 1 Box Crayons, 16 Count $.15 (Office Max, price matched at Staples) – and apparently there is no such thing as a 16-count box, so he got a 24-count one
  • 1 Box Colored Pencils, 12 Count 
  • 1 Box Markers, 12 count$1.99 (Target)
  • 12 #2 Sharpened Pencils – after realizing that sharpened pencils cost $4 a box (!!!), I manually sharpened a box of pencils we had at home, thankyouverymuch
  • Pencil Sharpener (2 hole)
  • 2 Dry Erase Chisel Markers (black only) $.02 money-maker!
  • 1 Spiral Notebook, wide rule
  • 2 Composition Notebooks, wide rule, 100 pages
  • 1 Plastic Folder (yellow only) – $.01
  • 4 Highlighters (1 each – yellow, green, orange and blue) $1 (Staples) – it was a 5-pack, so DS got a bonus highlighter 😉
  • 1 Box Storage Bags, quart-size with slider closure$.54 (Target)
  • 12” Ruler (for art room) $.19 (Walgreens)

How did you do on your school supplies this year?

If you’re struggling to save money on supplies, be sure to check out my weekly School Supply Deals Round-Up. And don’t forget about these 8 Tips for Getting the Best Deals on School Supplies.

(The above picture is somewhat incomplete, but by the time I realized not all the supplies were included it was way too late to start unpacking their bags and getting out the camera again! Sorry about that.)


  1. WOW! I’m impressed! My kids aren’t in school yet, but when they start- I’ll make sure to check out all the deals you post. I didn’t think spending less than $15 was possible- glad you proved me wrong!

  2. good for you!!!!

  3. very cool. of course, we are still waiting for our list so it’s a little hard to do the preparations. School (apparently b/c we still have received nothing from them) doesn’t start until after Labor Day… hope there’s nothing too surprising on our list b/c otherwise it’s waiting until it’s on sale somewhere!

  4. You are so awesome! I am in awe.

  5. wow! that is awsome!

  6. Wow. I set a goal of $30 for 3 kids and then found out that one kid they didn’t ask for any supplies (b/c she’s in a subsidized preschool program) so I probably should have reduced my goal to $20. Initially I didn’t have the lists so I just bought whatever was a really good deal and then returned things that we really didn’t need or that weren’t so good in the end. (My 7-1/2 year old even made a return for me today in Staples…I”m starting her on this road early!) I ended up spending $26.50 for the 2 older ones and donated a bunch of free or almost free things (under $2 total) to the preschool classroom. My biggest splurge was the calculator for 3.99 in the shape of a video game controller b/c my oldest will love it! I ended up having to pay $2 for a package of graph paper and $2 for a mini stapler b/c they never went on a better sale 🙁 We definitely re-used things that were barely used from last year (including tearing out the first 10 pages of a spiral notebook) and spent a bit extra to stock up on printer paper, spiral notebooks, filler paper, and tabbed dividers. Having just moved I didn’t have a stockpile to dive into so I hope to do even better next year.

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