Quick Survey- How Much Did You/will You Spend?

Updated on August 06, 2013
E.M. asks from Phoenix, AZ
23 answers

How much did you or will you spend on school supplies that are "general use" supplies? As in, these are supplies for everyone, not just your child? I know it is very typical to get a list these days, just wondering what other people's bills look like! We went shopping this weekend for my son's K class supplies and spent $75.00 on the general list alone, but I hear that is on the low side.
Thanks for sharing!

ETA: Thanks so much for all the great tips for next year!!! Like all things parenting, it's a learning curve!!

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So What Happened?

Maybe I am just a bad shopper?? We bought everything at Target, here is the list and ballpark prices:

1 package of 3x5 index cards (blank or lined)- 1.00
 1 package (2) of low odor dry erase markers- 4.99 (had to buy larger pack)
 1 box of crayons (24 count or larger)- 2.50
 1 package of colored pencils (12 count)- 2.00
 1 package of thick markers (10 count)- 2.50
 2 pink erasers- 1.00
 16 glue sticks (only Elmers)- 16.00
 1 bottle of Elmers glue (7.5 oz)- 3.00 (had to buy 2 smaller bottles)
 1 pair of Fiskar scissors- 4.00
 12 pack of pencils – Ticonderoga U.S.A.- 2.50
 1 white and 1 yellow child size t-shirt (new) - 5.00 each
 Clorox wipes- 8.00
 1 box of Kleenex- 2.00
 1 roll of paper towels- 1.50
 1 package of 9”white paper plates- 3.00
 1 box of gallon size Ziploc bags- 2.50
 1 box of sandwich size Ziploc bags- 2.50
 1 box of plastic spoons- 2.00
 1 rectangular plastic tablecloth (any color)- 3.00

Featured Answers


answers from Milwaukee on

As most of you know, I'm a mom to pooches, not kiddos. I bring my own training treats to Obedience class, not leashes for everyone.

It boggles my mind that schools are now requiring people to bring "general use" supplies, in addition to their own required school supplies for themselves. Looking at responses below, I'm seeing COFFEE??

Were I to ever have kids, I think we would be "accidentally" broke come the start of the school year. If my taxes don't cover it (& they are high enough, thank you very much!), then I'm not supplying it.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

We don't have 'general use' supplies. The schools (my school taxes) pay for those. We won't get a list at all until the first day of class. Last year (first grade) it was pencils, glue stick, markers and an eraser. Less than $10.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Cleveland on

what the heck did you buy?

pencil box??

Edited: holy poopie! that's a lot!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

We bought the complete supply box from the PTA fundraiser at the end of the school year last year, for $40. It will be ready and waiting for us, in the classroom, on meet-the-teacher night.

It includes everything except the backpack, lunchbox, and water bottle.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We don't have general use supplies in our school district. The only items that are shared are tissues and cleaning wipes so...maybe $20 total among 4 kids if I buy in bulk.

If you are being asked to supply that much, please get involved in the PTA and find out what on earth is going on. If those supplies really aren't covered by your school district's budget, the PTA can coordinate with teachers to buy in bulk and save a lot of money. I'm curious...what was on that list?

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

I spend $125 for 4 children. What I noticed was that Target's sale prices were good, but the regular prices are awful. Things I bought compared to you that stood out:

1 box of crayons 24 ct - $.50
1 package of dry erase - $2.99
1 package of pencils $1.24
1 package of thick markers - $1.09
2 pink erasers - $.25
16 Elmer's glue sticks - $4.00 (.25 each at walmart)
1 pair of Fiskar scissors - $2.50
Clorox Wipes - $4.25

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Oh! You spent too much on your supplies by shopping too early. I buy for two kids and I don't buy cheap brands but I spend less than that for both. (Not including special multi-year items like a graphing calculator.)

The sales right now are not the 'real' back-to-school sale prices. A little later in the month, prices will drop sharply. 24 Crayola crayons will be $0.25 to $0.50 per pack, and a 4 pack of dry erase markers will be $1, glue sticks will be $0.50 or less, for examples. (Possibly not at Target though. I've noticed that they will go really low on a couple key items but charge a little more than other places for most other things.)

Kids always need more pencils during the year, so I buy Ticonderoga pencils by the case on Amazon, which is eight 12 count boxes. I've paid as low as $1.45 per box and never more than $1.98.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Our school doesn't do that. They ask for donations of a short list of things - gallon ziplock baggies, hand sanitizer, tissues...but there's no collection of pencils, crayons, etc. for the class. In fact, I was surprised that DD has no list at all. They ask for K students to have many of those things (glue sticks, scissors, pencils, crayons) at home, but she doesn't need to take them to school.

I know that some items really help teachers out but a pack of paper plates and tshirts? Really? And come on. I know that some products are "better" than others, but teachers who get all fired about Rose Art vs Elmer's need to chill. People have budgets.

By the way, you may have been able to find the pencils for less. In the past I got 12 packs for the big kids for $1. Not that you should waste the gas returning them for $1, but in the future, keep an eye on clearances and sales for things you know they'll need and stock up. And think outside the box. The spoons and paper plates you might have gotten at a party store. Right now our local Party Co. is having a sale. If they didn't care about the color, get what's on discount.

IMO, it seems like a long and somewhat odd list.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Our school district is VERY specific about the brand of crayons, markers, etc. You HAVE to buy Crayola (I'm not sure what would happen if someone bought Rose Art or a different brand). But I'm on the PTO and we have had meetings regarding the lists to try and come up with ways to save some parents money (since Wal-Mart offers the basic 12 pack of crayons or 24 pack of crayons for cheap before school, we suggested kids could buy those instead of the larger packs that some teachers 'require').

My daughter's 1st grade supplies cost me around $60. I bought everything online (Wal-Mart, Amazon) and 1 vinyl folder at Dollar General. I had to buy a package of 110 lb thick 8x11 cardstock and that was close to $12 alone. Add in some kleenex and wipes and the rest was general use items: markers, crayons, erasers, etc. I even had some items leftover from last year (pencil box, pencils, etc).

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

The elementary schools publish a list of supplies they prefer (including name brands). You can buy them on your own OR you can buy the pre-sold packages for each grade level which is run through the PTA as a fundraiser.

I believe the most expensive level at our elementary is 5th grade and it is around $50. From K through 4 it is about $30-$40. The boxes include: baby wipes, tissues, pencils, notebooks, folders, pencil box, crayons, markers, glue sticks, scissiors, loose leaf paper.

Once Middle school came around, we didn't buy supplies because each teacher had their own list for their class and this was the way it worked until graduation in 12th grade.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Thank heavens we're in middle school.... Our K list was obscene. I don't even remember it all (I posted the ungodly total years ago), but I do remember that pounds of Starbucks coffee & diapers & underwear were on the list (for teachers and the nurse's office).

THIS year? Dude. All we needed was to get some fresh pencils.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

My son who is going into grade three doesn't need any supplies this year. His teacher is only asking each parent for a cheque for $30 and she will purchase all of the supplies. My son who is going into grade six has a supply list. We already had most of the stuff on it, either that he will reuse or that I purchased last year on clearance. I spent about $12 on the rest. When they were in Kindergarten the teacher just asked for a cheque for $30.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I bought what was on the list for my kids. I got all 3 kids complete lists for $80 total.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Our school supplies per child were over $100. With buying 4 packages of copy paper at $3.98 and four 24 packages of pencils at $4.98 each then I don't know how many boxes of tissues we got in all but I think it was 7 at $$2.98 each...it adds up to a lot.

This is the first year we've actually bought any school supplies. We usually get them gifted to us through our grandparents group. We told them we could get our own this year and to give them to someone else if they knew of someone but they still gave us full backpacks anyway.

We had already bought the kids supplies anyway. So now we have 2 backpacks of stuff we don't need. I am going to try and find out if the schools the kids are going to know of any kids that could use them. Or just give them to their teachers to give out as needed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

including a new back pack and lunch box we are at 90ish...his list is similar except he needed headphones, which alone were 20$

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

cost depends on how much we can get on sale (keep eyes open during the year and restock - sent several boxes of tissues last year!) - but this is our 3rd grade list ....

24 pencils
2 boxes 24 crayons
1 box 12 colored pencils
2 hilighters
1 permanet marker
post it notes
clip board
pk cap erasers
12 glue sticks
2 pk wide rule notepaper
4 composition books
5 plastic folders
multipication flash
supply pouch
paper towels
copy paper
ziploc bags
clorox wipes
baby wipes
dry eraser markers
graph paper

and small stuff for the reward box

(she's a 3rd grader this year -- and have heard the other schools in the district do not have such a large list but I haven't seen any others)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I always let the teacher know I will get supplies after they go on clearance. There are PLENTY of parents who send in everything on the list the first day of school so they don't need mine. None of the teachers have ever had a problem with me doing this. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Wow that's a lot of stuff. Every kid brings these in?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

That's quite a list!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

I'm curious about what was on your list, that seems like a lot.

I homeschool and spent around $50 for everything for 3 kids. I'll probably go back and buy more, but we have what we need. I just like the discounts you can find right now lol

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Just went yesterday and spent $100 total for a 2nd grader and an 8th grader. Didn't seem too bad to us.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

My kids go to a small private school and there is a specific list of supplies to buy each year. I have not actually purchased the items yet this year but typically I spend about $100 per child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Missoula on

My older child will be in first grade this fall. Last year for K we probably spent around $30 for school supplies, not including lunchbox and backpack. Some of what we bought was "community" supplies and some were individual.
Some of the prices you listed seem really high to me, guess we won't be shopping at Target for school supplies.

1 mom found this helpful
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