Back to school: almost everything costs more

In 2019, The newspaper had embarked on a bargain hunt with six businesses to unearth twenty of the school supplies most in demand by schools, at the lowest price. At the time, the ideal bill was just over $30. Three years later, a similar purchase exceeds $45, following a visit to Staples, Walmart and Jean Coutu. Here are some of our observations.

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Visiting Three Great Banners on Tuesday, August 2, The newspaper found large price discrepancies for similar items.

The price of pencil sharpeners with a reservoir varies from store to store. For example, between Walmart ($0.97) and Staples ($4.19), the price difference was more than $3.

For wooden pencils, this time Staples offers the most attractive price for boxes of 24 colored pencils at $2.79. At Walmart, it’s more like $5.97 that you have to pay, compared to $3.99 at Jean Coutu, for a different brand on sale.

In 2019, more than one store offered these 24 pencils for $1.99 or less.

No bargains for satchels

While almost all supplies are more expensive than in 2019, the rise was particularly marked for two-inch ring binders. Three years ago, The newspaper had found them for $2.99 ​​and all the big chains were selling them for less than $6. This year, the cheapest found by The newspaper were at Jean Coutu ($6.29). A similar product at Staples was over $10.

More 10¢ Duo-Tangs

They were in 2019 and they still exist: the Duo-Tang at $0.10.

Ironically, three years ago, The newspaper found them at Walmart and Staples. This year, it was a Jean Coutu from Montreal that offered this “unbeatable” price, according to Parsa Islam, a mother we met on site. Indeed, the representative of Log found that Walmart ($0.15) and Staples ($0.82) did not offer less.


The newspaper visited three stores in Montreal on August 2: Bureau en gros, Jean Coutu and Walmart. The prices before taxes recorded in store have been given on the same unit of measurement since the formats vary. For example, we find the price of a single Duo-Tang, even if they are sold in packs. Only the lowest price of each chain was used for comparison purposes, but some products were not available in all stores, thus limiting the choice. Prices may have changed between the time of the review and the publication of the article.

Families on a bargain hunt

Parsa Islam, a mother of two, starts shopping for school supplies early, here in a Montreal Jean Coutu.

Photo Clara Loiseau

Parsa Islam, a mother of two, starts shopping for school supplies early, here in a Montreal Jean Coutu.

The hunt for discounts is on for many families who hope to find the best bargains so as not to spend too much on supplies as the start of the school year is fast approaching and everything is more expensive.

“There are specials that are really interesting, but the problem is that teachers often have special product requests […] which are more expensive”, explains Parsa Islam, mother of two children who will return to school in a few weeks.

Run the discounts

Even if families still have about 20 days left to enjoy the holidays, many are starting to shop for supplies now to avoid the bill being too high, especially in this context of inflation.

“I always shop for discounts, so as soon as I see products that are a little more expensive than the previous year, I wait a few weeks to find them cheaper elsewhere,” says Maya Bou-Samra, a mother of two elementary school children. , which is preparing to have to pay more this year.

As everything increases, Mme Islam also thinks that this year the price of supplies will weigh more heavily on the wallet.

“Before, for two children, we could get by for $100, but now it’s more, maybe $150, $200,” she says.

More than one store

Although they started to fill their basket at Jean Coutu on Tuesday afternoon, these two mothers know that they will have to take a look at Bureau en gros to find other bargains later.

“Usually, by going to several stores, I know that I will be able to find everything at a discount and therefore not pay too much,” says Bou-Samra.

Same story from the side of a mother of four children met in a Walmart in the east of Montreal.

“I really look at all the flyers and I really go to the stores where I’m going to find the cheapest products, because sometimes there are still two or three dollar differences for the same product,” he explains. she.

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Back to school: almost everything costs more