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Where this Mom of Three Shops for the Best Price on Back To School Everything

With three boys going back to school this fall, the price tag on essentials can rack up quickly, which is why Collette Wixom of @Ministylehacker relies on Walmart for the best possible price and a wide range of kid-approved options.

RV Studios for Walmart
4 min read

Collette Wixom, the L.A.-based mind behind @ministylehacker, is a mom of three boys who are twelve, nine, and five, which means back to school shopping requires more than just navigating a wide range of personal preferences (Spiderman vs. The Hulk! Wood pencils vs. mechanical!). It gets costly buying all the basics––and then some. So Collette does the only sensible thing a stylish mom of three would do: She goes to Walmart.

 "My youngest used to go to preschool across the street from a Walmart, and I'd spend hours there during the week," she says. "I'd get snacks, cute outfits, sunblock, sports stuff––everything is at such a good price. Why wouldn't I get it all?" 

With more than 100 school supplies for under $1 from brands you know and love and backpacks sporting the latest superhero craze coming in under $15, the back-to-school shopping list is more than just manageable, it's affordable. But there's more than just price perks. Fast, often next-day shipping has saved Collette in a bind, and their curbside pickup means less wrangling of kids in the aisles. On the rare occasion something needs to be returned, she also notes that the customer service is outstanding. 

With options her kids get excited about (at a price that thrills Collette!), Walmart has her covered so that she can spend the night before the first day of school relaxing with her kids. They cozy up on the couch together and she meditates on her most important advice: "It's important to get everything you need done as early as possible, but don't forget to enjoy the last few days of summer; try not to get overwhelmed. We only have 17 summers together from the time they are born." As for drop-off on back-to-school day, she says, "Don't be afraid to cry. And if everything's not perfect, that's OK."

Here are Collette's top picks from Walmart for the back-to-school season.

"He wants to be cool," she says of her youngest son," remarking that his loyalty for specific Marvel characters changes with every new release. "Currently he's into Spiderman."

Speaking of Spiderman, Collette had a (spidey) sense that her son would love this lunch bag, but she had more criteria for it than just which superhero splashed its front flap. "Insulation is a must," she says. "And it has to be big enough for ice packs and to fit a bento box inside." It's everything she needs and it's not even $11.

Eighties and Nineties babies, rejoice! You can now send a slice of your youth back to school with the kids––and it's just over $10. "Oh, I bought this for pure nostalgia," she says of the throwback essential for her oldest son. With convenient vertical pockets and an easy-to-open velcro closure, this binder marries style and function for every age group.

"These just make life easy," says Collette, noting the mess-free nature of these easy-to-use pens that come in at only $3.18 for the pack.

School is full of rules and opportunities to stay inside the lines, which is why it's crucial to add a little extra color to every day with these brightly hued writing essentials.

Fun meets function in this pencil box-and-toy combo (a two-for-one that's just $11.97!). Though it's for her youngest, Collette is already taking dibs on which of her older sons will claim it for themselves. "They love these things. We'll see how long before the older boys take it."

At a price that cannot be beat––47 cents per 12 pencils––Collette buys enough pencils for the boys to take to school and keep at home all school year long.

"If you have little ones, you know that sometimes they color so hard, the crayons snap in half. These don't. They're mess-free, which makes it so much easier for the little one."

How many dividers are too many? That's a trick question, you can never have too many! At $4.68 per pack of 8-tab dividers, these high-quality dividers make it easy to prepare for schoolwork at an affordable price.

"Ultra-washable markers. That is the key word," says Collette, explaining that the boys often use their markers for more than just coloring on paper. "They'll draw mustaches and chest hair."

Built to stand up to minor spills and falls from the desk, this perfectly packable Chromebook completes the classroom experience––and it rings in under $100. It's equipped for quick streaming, fast recharging, and long battery life so students can access textbooks, tests, and more stress free.

Product prices and availability are limited time and subject to change. Quoted prices are in U.S. dollars and are exclusive of shipping and handling or sales taxes, if applicable.