CLOSTER, New Jersey (WABC) -- Back to school is just a few weeks away.
It seems to cost more and more each year to get your child the supplies they need for class.
It's busy time and at Ward's 5 & dime, Back- to-school season means boxing up class supply lists for thousands of students at six local schools.
The 1st grade supply list for Hillside Elementary in Closter was mostly basics like crayons, glue, pencils and markers. The cost, $51.
7 On Your Side tried to beat that price at an office supply store, a major drug store chain and online.
At the nationwide office retailer, filling the list with similar items in the store cost $68.69.
The drug store price was even higher $100.16!
But the only pair of over the ear headphones we could find there were $19.
The headphones were only $10 at the big box discount store online, where the class list cost $61.
The mom and pop shop came out on top, the owner says, buying direct from manufactures and low overhead keeps their mark ups to a minimum.
It also pays to buy in bulk.
"A good tip is to go in with a bunch of parents in your actual school, come to BJs and Costco, and get a big pack," said Sara Skirboll, shopping expert.
Skirboll's second savings tip: Plan where you're going to shop beforehand, then browse for a discount gift card and promo codes. Retailmenot's website offers hundreds of ways to save.
"The idea is you can buy a gift card at a discount, but it's still worth its full value," Skirboll said.
Lastly, strategize your shopping: but consider what it takes to run around to separate stores to save a few bucks and figure out if it's worth it.
"Saving time is saving hassle and time is money in some cases!" Skirboll said.
More tips for your big takeaway, skip the brand name. They're more expensive but you may sacrifice quality. When 7 On Your Side stocked up at the Dollar Store, the marker ran dry and the pencil kept breaking.
Don't forget to show your student or teacher ID, you'll unlock saving just for you right now both in the store and online.
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Tips on where to get the best deals on school supplies for back to school
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