Online shopping may not always get you the best back-to-school deals

Posted at 7:30 AM, Aug 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 07:30:43-04

(WXYZ) — Back to school is right around the corner and that supplies list seems to get longer every year.

But even when you're expected to buy more, there's still a way to spend less.

With long lists, the shopping can test your patience and your wallet. So we met up with discount savings expert Jolyn Felton to learn how to shop smart, starting with a backpack.

Jolyn says you should steer your kids away from buying character or themed backpacks. They may be priced cheaper, but you won't get much mileage out of them. Instead, limit trips to the store by investing in one that has a lifetime guarantee.

"Jansport, Adidas, Lands' End, L.L. Bean, something you can reuse from year to year, wash it and it's good to go," she says.

As for single notebooks – averaging about 25 cents each this season – those are priced at just a sixth of their normal cost.. So you'll save by stocking up.

"They're not going to go bad, you can use them next year if you buy too much," she says.

Meanwhile, saving on graphing calculators – at over a hundred bucks a pop – could mean buying used.

"You can find them online on Facebook Marketplace. You can save quite a bit of money," she says.

We found one for as little as $30 bucks, more than 50 percent off on Facebook Marketplace. Or if you just need it for a semester, you can actually rent one for 40 dollars using

More and more folks are moving to shop online instead of in person. But when it comes to supplies, it may not always get you the best deal.

We took a look at Elmers glue sticks. On Amazon, we found a pack at $5.40 or 67 cents each. Seemed like a good deal until we found Target and Meijer carrying the same product for as little as 33 cents each, more than half of the price on Amazon.

Make sure you're looking at the per stick price, so you don't waste your money.