The cost of school supplies may not have risen with the inflation rate as dramatically as other expenses, but that cost increase felt elsewhere may have parents tightening this year's school supply budget.
The inflation rate has nearly doubled since August 2021, and the last school supply shopping run, according to Statistics Canada.
Last August, the inflation rate stood around 4.1 per cent. As of the most recent calculations in June of this year, Canada's inflation rate stands around 8.1 per cent.
Here is a roundup of sales, coupons, and savings to be found on school supplies throughout St. Albert.
Many area schools have supply lists available to download online.
Starting with some of the key items, Walmart is currently offering the cheapest price for 1.5-inch binders with zippers compared to competing outlets such as Staples or London Drugs. Walmart has multiple binder styles and colours listed for around $15, however, stores such as Value Village and Goodwill also generally sell lightly used, if not new, binders, but their stock is naturally unpredictable.
For other paper-carrying items such as duotangs, Staples currently has the competition beat out, as all colours are currently $0.15 each.
For pens, pencils, pencil crayons, and markers, the market is split. A pack of 24 Crayola coloured pencils is currently $2.79 at Staples whereas Walmart is offering them for $5.99, and London Drugs has them listed at $7.49.
It appears a 24-pack of washable markers has no clear pricing winner among local stores, as both Walmart and Staples have them listed for about $10, but Walmart only offers these online.
Walmart has a package of 60 pre-sharpened pencils, 36 more than what the supply lists ask for, for $12.44. This also includes 50 eraser caps that fit on the end of the pencil. This could be a deal for parents buying supplies for multiple children.
With the variety of makes, styles, and colours of pens available, finding a way to save may come down to what's desired, but dollar stores, such as any of St. Albert's three Dollarama locations, may offer the cheapest option.
For paper products, Walmart, Staples, and London Drugs are neck and neck the best pricing and options. Between Aug. 12 and 17, London Drugs will have a package of 200 sheets of loose-leaf paper on sale for $0.99. Walmart has a package of 200 sheets of loose-leaf paper on sale for $2.77, while Staples has a package of 150 sheets for $1.19. The supply lists generally ask for a package of 200 sheets.
Staples also has the lowest price for 80-page coil notebooks, at $0.15 each.
Coupons, flyers, and other options
Since comparing the prices of every school supply item would need more than a few hundred words, here's a breakdown of weekly coupons and sales for stores mentioned previously.
On Staples's website there is a list of coupons available for anybody to use towards online purchases. The list can be founding by searching Staples Coupon Code Centre. Staples also keeps its weekly flyer available on the Staples website. The next Staples flyer will be available on Wednesday, Aug. 17.
Walmart also posts the store's weekly flyer online, and the current flyer is valid until closing on Aug. 17, with a new flyer to be posted on Aug. 18.
London Drugs currently has a back-to-school-themed flyer that's valid between Aug. 12-17 and can be accessed online as well. Superstore also has a back-to-school-themed flyer valid during the same time period as the one offered by London Drugs. Superstore will have notebooks, glue, rulers, scissors, pens, and more for sale for less than $5, according to the flyer.
Besides buying from stores, another option to find supplies is to post on "upcycling" Facebook groups where people look to give things they no longer use to others. The "Upcycling St. Albert" Facebook group has more than 9,000 members and there are multiple upcycling groups in Edmonton as well.
The new school year will be back in session starting the last week of August.