10 unbeatable back-to-school finds at Costco, Sam's, and BJ's

Back to School Shopping Tips

Pencils, paper, notebooks, binders, backpack, lunchbox -- the list goes on and on as kids get ready to head back to school. When running all over to check items off, don't overlook Costco, Sam's Club, or BJ's Wholesale Club. The warehouse clubs sell more school supplies than you might expect, at prices lower than Amazon, Walmart, and other top competitors. Some deals are good enough that even consumers without kids might want to go back-to-school shopping.

10 unbeatable back-to-school finds at Costco, Sam's, and BJ's
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10 unbeatable back-to-school finds at Costco, Sam's, and BJ's


Given how the new school year brings on the colds, tissues should be on every back-to-school shopping list. Costco sells six boxes for just over $10, which means less than $2 for each box of 100 tissues -- a deal Amazon can't beat.

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Pencils, pencils, and more pencils. Students always need them, and Costco has them for cheap. Compare 96 Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 pencils for just over $15 to 90 of those same pencils on Amazon for $20.

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Many classrooms require notebooks, and Sam's Club has 100-sheet Mead composition books for less than $2 each, while a Costco promotion has them marked down to just over $1.50 until Aug. 21. Both prices are cheaper than Amazon, which charges 15 percent to 25 percent more.

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Paper for all those reports and essays runs about $25 for 4,000 sheets (just over $3 a ream, or 500 sheets) at Sam's Club for its Member's Mark brand. That matches a sale price for similar house-brand paper at Staples, but that deal is a limited-time discount off a regular price of $49 and limited to four boxes of paper, whereas Sam's Club sets no limitations.

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A Crayola Creativity Kit for $20 at Costco comes with 110 pieces including crayons, markers, pencils, glue, scissors, and more, easily divvied up for school supplies (or to entertain kids as young as 3). This set also might be good to have in the gift closet for the seemingly countless birthday parties coming during the school year. The same price at Walmart buys a set with only 90 pieces.

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Costco has stocked up on High Sierra backpacks in many different colors, now selling for $20. The same backpack on Amazon costs $31 and up depending on the color. (Note that Costco doesn't list the backpacks online, so the selection is based entirely on what a local store carries.)

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For kids heading off to college -- or anyone with a home office -- we found a Brother all-in-one wireless printer available at some BJ's stores (but out of stock online) for just $50 after a half-off instant rebate. The same printer is selling on Amazon for $95.

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Costco often carries popular kids' (and adult) clothing brands far below the cost at other retailers. During the back-to-school rush, Costco is offering Lee jeans for kids for just $9 (normally $12) with free shipping for online orders. This deal makes it even cheaper to stock up on children's denim than Old Navy's back-to-school sale featuring $10 jeans.

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With chilly fall weather on the way, a lightweight, fleece-lined London Fog jacket is $17 at Costco in three colors. This is a good deal compared with Walmart, which has one style in two colors for $25. Additionally, raincoats for boys and girls in many different colors and designs are going for $16 at Costco.

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Learning works up an appetite. Sam's Club makes it more affordable with a Planters variety pack of 24 individually wrapped snack bags for $10, or just over 40 cents a pack. These are perfect for slipping in a lunchbox or leaving out for kids to grab as an after-school snack. With this deal, Sam's Club has undercut even corporate sibling Walmart, which stocks the same product for $13.

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More from Cheapism:
50 Tips for Back-to-School Savings
How to Live Off Less Than $500 a Month at Costco
11 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Costco

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