The local "dollar" store offered the best deal, but the selection is fairly narrow and two of the items on our list were already sold out. Be prepared to shop early!
The big-box stores like Target and Wal-Mart are fairly competitive with each other -- just a $4 difference and we found everything we needed at both stores. But Target was the easiest and fastest to shop, as all of the back-to-school supplies were located in one central area, while Wal-Mart had about four aisles devoted to back to school and they were crowded and noisy.
Office supply stores have been trying to get more of the back-to-school market share in recent years, but our shopping test shows the prices are still fairly high and the package sizes tend to be larger than standard – so you pay a little more and get a lot of "free" extras that you don't need. If you see an item for a penny at an office supply store, buy it and bail out.
Drug stores: Forget it! This is the most expensive place to shop for back to school. They will occasionally offer special items to get shoppers in the door, but with a basket price more than three times the price of our most affordable store, don't take the bait.