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Consumer Reports: Back To School Supplies

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – For many children, the start of school brings the excitement of shopping for school supplies.

"I like folders so much because they could store lots of things," student Genna said.

"My favorite part about shopping for notebooks is picking through all the colors that I can buy," said student Justin.

So where do you get the best prices on all these supplies?

"Stores lure you in with great deals, like pencils for a penny," said Jody Rohlena with ShopSmart Magazine. "But you have to be careful or you could wind up paying too much for the other items on your list."

ShopSmart Magazine wanted to know which stores has the best everyday deals and sent secret shoppers to check prices at Office Depot, Staples, Target and Walmart.

And the bargains weren't always were you'd expect.

"You might think an office supply store is the best place to go, but often it wasn't," Rohlena said.

In fact, Staples and Office Depot tied for the highest prices on most items. Store brand, two-pocket folders at Staples cost $1.01 compared to Walmart's 48 cents.

How about notebooks?

Mean, Five-Star, one-subject notebooks at Staples go for $6.02, but Walmart has them for $2.76.

And loose-leaf paper?

Norcom brand packages of 150 sheets at Office Depot were $3.01 – at Walmart they were 82 cents.

"Walmart had the least expensive prices on most items," Rohlena said. "And in many cases, Target was right behind them."

ShopSmart says as a general rule, look for store brands, they can save you nearly 75 percent.

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