This dad compared 6 retailers to find the most affordable stationery for his domestic worker's child
We compared 6 top retailers to find the most affordable supplier of stationery supplies and it turns out the store we frequent most often, isn’t the cheapest of the lot.
How much does stationery cost? (iStock)

You’ve already packed your child’s school bag with all the necessary supplies, covered their books – and labelled every last thing, because their stationery cost a pretty penny. So here’s hoping they won’t come home missing an eraser, glue stick or, heavens forbid, a scientific calculator, resulting in another trip to the store any time soon. We’re hoping for a month, or at least until the end of the longest month of the financial year – January.

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But when the time comes to buy a new set of HB pencils, or an entire maths set for just one protractor, we’ve got you covered with a comparison of 6 retailers you can visit for the most affordable stationary supplies.

The comparison was sent in to Parent24 by Keith Sheard, a dad from Port Alfred in the Eastern Cape. While Keith doesn’t have a little one at school, hoping to help his domestic worker’s child, he put together the list with information gathered from Back to School promotional leaflets and the retailers’ websites. The retailers include Game, Checkers, Pick n Pay, CNA, Spar and Pep, and we were quite surprised by the results.

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Take a look at Keith's table:

School supplies comparison

Table by Keith Sheard

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When you’re on your way home from work, you may stop by the store to do your grocery shopping before supper, and naturally, you’d also pick up whatever else your little one needs. That’s when you’ll probably make the mistake of grabbing a R49.95 display file when you could’ve actually gotten it for close to half the price elsewhere. That isn’t an exaggeration – one retailer sells it for literally half the price another charges.

Here are some comparisons:

  • Display files go for more or less the same price at Game, Checkers, Pick n Pay and CNA, with a few outliers for the different sizes here and there. A trip to PEP, and second to that, SPAR, will give you the cheapest prices. For a 50-page display file you’re looking at paying the most at Game with a price tag of R54.99, whereas PEP sells it for R26.99.
  • That being said, a 96 page A5 book may seem cheaper at Game for R5.99, but Checkers sells a 192 page book for R8.99, and SPAR for R9.99.
  • The prices of glue sticks, pencils and pens all vary in prices, and because they comes in different packages, cannot be clearly separated as the most affordable. However, specifically with pens, and at PEP specifically, we can see that if you buy in bulk, as is the case with a flip file with more sleeves, it’s cheaper. But this may also depend on the quality of the product you’re buying.
  • Scissors range from R7.99 at SPAR and R9.99 at PEP to R24.90 at CNA. The same is true for pencil cases that range from R9.99 at PEP to R39.99 at CNA.
  • Plastic book covers and plastic tape also vary in prices, but again, SPAR and PEP appeared to be the cheapest, with Pick n Pay the most expensive.
  • If you were to buy the quantity required as per your child’s school stationery list, you’ll find the total amount at Pick n Pay would be the most expensive at R282.32, while the cheapest would be at PEP at R168.85.

Of course, this is just a quick comparison, and you’re not likely to buy each and every item at the store where it’s more affordable. But from the information gathered we can clearly see which stores are significantly more expensive than others, but quality may (or may not) differ. 

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Which stores did you think would be the cheapest? Where do you buy your family's stationery and school supplies? Tell us by emailing and we may publish your comments.

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