Costco or Target? Which is the Best for School Supplies?

Back to school shopping is here, and we are ready to shop! Of course, most of us are waiting to see what school will look like this next year, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t be shopping. 

The question is, where the best place to shop is? Both Costco and Target will have some great deals on back-to-school supplies. So should we buy in bulk at our favorite big box store or head to Target?

In this article, I am looking at some of the top items required for back to school for most grades and comparing the cost and selection of each item.

Interested to see where to get the best deals on back-to-school shopping? Keep reading….

  • For BJ’s fans we did a BJs Vs. Target post here.

Contigo Water Bottle

Every kid needs a water bottle. Think about it- your body is 60% water, and if you plan on sending them to school for several hours in a day, then they will need an easy way to rehydrate. 

That’s why I always include a new water bottle in my kids back to school shopping, and 9 times out of 10, that water bottle ends up being from Contigo. They are leakproof, easy to clean, and super cute (important criteria if you want your kids actually to use them). 

Now that my kids are older, I chose to get them the bigger water bottles for one reason- I am tired of filling them. But I know I am not the only one! 

At Costco, I purchased a 3 pack of Contigo water bottles for 12.99. Then, just this week, a member of our Facebook group posted the one above for only $12.97 on clearance.

At Target, Just one of the same water bottles was $4.50

With that simple math, anyone can tell you that Costco will have the better option for you. 

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Pilot G2 Gel Pen

I don’t know about your house, but you have pens in every nook and cranny until the moment comes when you need one immediately. We call it the ‘pen predicament’- whenever you need a pen, you can’t seem to find a good one!

Now, what is a good pen? For me, a good pen has black ink, not chewed on, and a Pilot G2 Gel Pen.

In my humble opinion, it is the best, and you can grab them at any store for a reasonable price, which is great because I prefer these for my kids. 

At Costco, the price for 20 Pilot G2 Gel Pens is $15.99- coming out to $0.79/pen.

At Target, the price for a pack of 3 for the same pen is $4.49– coming out to $1.49/pen.

For the price, Costco is the clear winner with the bonus of no pen predicaments this school year!

Lunch Box

Something that each kid will need (especially in 2020) is their own lunch box.

With a lunch box, there is a lot of factors to consider with your kids. For one, is it functional? Will it keep their food at a healthy temperature? 

Another thing to consider is if they will actually use it or not. My daughter, for example, doesn’t like anything that makes her stand out, so I already know that my daughter won’t use a sparkly rainbow lunch box. 

At Costco, the lunch boxes are limited this year- at least as far as I could tell. However, they had a great deal on a Titan lunch box where you got 2 Titan Deep Freeze 2-pack Expandable Ice Pack with 2 Ice Walls for 27.99. This is a great deal! So you can get your lunch boxes for 13.99 and cross them off your list.

I’ve found lunchboxes to go on clearance at the beginning of August in our area. It’s worth keeping an eye on.

If we look at Target, however, it is hard to compare. We are talking rows of lunchboxes for kids of every age and interest. In addition, the prices range from $11 up to $25. 

In my opinion- Target clearly wins in this area, from adorable animals to Disney characters to trendy designs for your teens. You will find the lunch box that you are looking for about the same price as Costco.

Composition Notebook

Ah yes- the most iconic, classic school accessory! But, of course, your kids will need these for several subjects. 

A packet of 6 composition notebooks at Costco is 12.99- making it out $2.16/notebook.

At Target, a packet of 5 composition notebooks is $3.99- making it out to be 80 ¢ a notebook.

That is quite the price difference! Target wins this round by a landslide and saving you over $1.36 per notebook. When we are buying for several kids, this savings can be huge!

expo markers at costco

Expo Dry Erase Markers

You know those things that you buy that are classroom contributions? The ones that aren’t really for you, but for the teacher to be able to do their job as well as possible? 

Dry Erase Markers are one of those things. And my kids’ teachers? They deserve the best- which is why I get them Expo Dry Erase Markers. 

At Costco, you can grab a rainbow assortment of Expo Dry Erase Markers for $10.99. For 18 markers, it comes out to .61/marker.

At Target, you can get the same markers for $4.49 for a pack of 5 Expo Dry Erase Markers. That comes out to $0.89/ marker.

Once again, the winner is Costco! 

Costco vs. Target Overview 

I know that this list didn’t cover everything on your list- but I just wanted you to get your feet wet in looking at the best deals for your back-to-school shopping. 

For us, I think that we will get most of our back-to-school supplies at Costco. It seems like the deals are there, and with three kids, I need to save as much money as possible.

I may save some of the things that I want to be cuter (like the lunchbox) and grab those at Target once we get a little closer to the beginning of school.

Where will you be shopping this year? 


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