Shopping around can help you save on school supplies - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Shopping around can help you save on school supplies

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(Image Courtesy: MGN Online) (Image Courtesy: MGN Online)
CHICOPEE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

It's that time of the year again.  Back to school shopping is already in full swing, but when it comes time for you to grab the wallet, you may want to know your options.

It's the ongoing war between online and in-store shopping, so we did the homework for you.  We compared prices of five popular back to school items; binders, calculators, backpacks, flash drives and laptops both - in store and online.

"I think one of our main focuses would be the laptop and the electronics," said Ben Armstrong, Assistant Manager of Walmart in Chicopee.

Armstrong showed us what savings were cooking and then we put those products to the test, comparing Walmart and Staples to Amazon.

  • One-inch binder - Walmart narrowly has the edge
    • Walmart: $1.92
    • Staples: $2.49
    • Amazon: $2.74
  • Elementary school backpack - Once again, Walmart takes it
    • Walmart: $4.97
    • Staples: $19.99
    • Amazon: $6.71
  • Solar calculator for math class - You may want to grab this one online
    • Walmart: $9.49
    • Staples: $7.99
    • Amazon: $6.00
  • 32 gigabyte flash drive good enough for any size school assignment - Once again, Amazon takes the crown
    • Walmart: $9.97
    • Staples: $11.99
    • Amazon: $7.99
  • Laptop - At $30 cheaper, Walmart takes this price check with no contest
    • Walmart: $179.00
    • Staples: $289.99
    • Amazon: $209.99

We asked Walmart shoppers what they prefer, and while they do shop both in store and online, their preference was clear.

Donna Lafond shops for her eight grandchildren and she said that it's best to do it in the store one and done.

"You have to get it where you can afford them, so I usually come in here and check out what's here, and buy the basics; the notebooks, the pens," Lafond explained.

Nicole Lewis added, "Pencils, notebooks, backpacks, they have his Jurassic World backpack that he likes, and they have every brand of everything, so that's why we come here."

Lewis and her two sons can find anything online offers, but with the security of a hands-on experience.

"I just like to be able to look at what I'm buying to actually see it before I buy it." Lewis said.

We then shared with shoppers our price comparisons, specifically laptops.

"I know I bought one last year for my oldest grandson, and it was a lot more than that.  It really was," Lafond added.

Lewis noted, "I actually bought a tablet online here, and there was something wrong with it. I brought it back, and it was cheaper online and they gave it to me for the price online, and I had no problems."

Armstrong knows the pros of shopping online, but assures shoppers that the in-store experience is simply one-of-a-kind.

"You're going to get real time customer service, you're not going to have to wait to talk to someone online or chat or whatever, and so I think that personal effect is very good."

For those who do like a little bit of both worlds, Walmart does have a new app called Savings Catcher, which will price match any online product.

Copyright 2016 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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